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TCU Associate Director of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Orlando Lara asks Dr. Parks a question regarding interdisciplinary studies.
Photo: Trent Attyah

Avoiding a specific field of study and engaging with the community to develop areas of research were among the topics covered by the keynote speaker during a luncheon highlighting interdisciplinary studies.

TCU’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies welcomed Dr. Sherri Parks to the Brown-Lupton University Union on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Parks, the vice president of strategic initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Arts, is known for creating innovative interdisciplinary projects driven by her commitment to socially engaged research within various communities. Ms. Parks is TCU’s first Cecil H. and Ida Green Honors Chair recipient for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The interdisciplinary expert began her undergraduate education in the English Honors program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Since then, Parks has served as the inaugural associate dean for research, interdisciplinary scholarship, and programming for the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland-College Park.

Parks’ contributions at UMCP helped raise the university’s national academic profile along with its levels of research, community involvement and interdisciplinary.

TCU recently added its School of Interdisciplinary Studies in 2018.

“TCU’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies tackles challenges through integrating multiple perspectives and methods,” the department’s website says. “We build bridges that connect experts, ideas, and communities and foster lateral collaboration to draw upon the expertise and innovations of multiple disciplines.”

TCU faculty, staff, students, and members of the community attended the keynote speech hoping to gain more knowledge about the ethics of education and the meaning of the word interdisciplinary.

“Interdisciplinary studies lay the foundation to finding valuable work through community involvement and specific meaningful research,” said Parks.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition for interdisciplinary is “relating to one or more branches of knowledge.”

Marzieh Hosseinpoor, a student in the intensive english department, praises Ms. Parks in conclusion to Thursday’s event.
Photo: Trent Attyah

Parks encouraged TCU’s community to value meaningful work in efforts to strive towards a multicultural campus.

Orlando Lara, the Associate Director of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at TCU, was in attendance for Thursday’s event.

“I praise Ms. Parks for her validation of finding meaningful value in my academic work,” Lara said. “Her remarks regarding the importance of community involvement are lessons I plan to take action on.”

“These institutions are universities, not charities,” Parks said of the main takeaway from the event. “This is about really engaging with the community on an ethical basis.”

Visit the School of Interdisciplinary Studies website for more information on the major. The department’s office is located in Rees-Jones Hall, Room 346.