The Muddy Creek Project: Evolution of a Field-Based Research and Learning Collaborative
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For three years an on-going multidisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach collaboration has focused on the Muddy Creek Watershed in east-central Kentucky. At the core of the effort is a three-way partnership among a geologist, a geographer, and a biologist-two academic, one a state agency representative. The collaboration frequently includes additional academic partners, nonprofit and community members, and government agency personnel. It has produced graduate and undergraduate student learning experiences from individual student field projects, a course redesigned to include a major class project, and the incorporation of additional field-based components into existing coursework. Logistical and financial challenges require creativity to overcome. We advocate institutional mechanisms supporting interdisciplinary collaboration, such as funding incentives for field-based student work and increased recognition in the tenure and promotion processes. Absent these mechanisms, our own success has been built upon (a) regular communication; (b) creativity and flexibility in exploring opportunities for collaboration; (c) mutual respect for each other's professional and personal strengths; and (d) an underlying sense of trust, shared vision and unwavering generous spirit that could not necessarily be engendered by any institutional policy or practice.
Alice Jones, Danita M. Sage, and Tom Edwards. "The Muddy Creek Project: Evolution of a Field-Based Research and Learning Collaborative" Journal of Geoscience Education 54.2 (2006): 109-115.