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Destination Areas: Building Transdisciplinary Research and Learning Communities

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In recent years, there has been a growing interest in transdisciplinary knowledge infrastructures and the broader impacts they generate. The Destination Area initiative is working to breakdown disciplinary boundaries and develop resources for cultivating collaborative opportunities for tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems.

As institutions look to produce graduates with competencies that will allow them to jointly respond to the technical and human implications of complex problems, bringing engineering students and students majoring in the arts, social science and humanities together to collaboratively engage in curricular experiences has become a 21st century imperative. Transdisciplinary learning experiences emerging out of the Destination Areas that allow for integrative learning provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s workplace. The Destination Areas have also launched facilities like the Integrated Security Research and Education Center (ISERC) and the new Quantum Information Science and Engineering lab. They serve as national models for transdisciplinary intersections between research and learning.

Transdisciplinary research efforts are addressing complex problems in infectious disease, security, brain health and development, rural health, advanced manufacturing and materials, and coastal mitigation. The Destination Area initiative is bringing together colleges, institutes, and other units on campus in new ways and resulting in new solutions and techniques that have garnered national and international attention.

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Learning Systems Innovation, Virginia Tech


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