Clearing 2021
Events for Schools and Colleges

The Power of Interdisciplinary Degrees

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Philosophy and Art History - 17 June 2021

Teachers, advisers and colleagues from schools and colleges across the UK and around the world, are invited to join us virtually for our Annual Teachers and Advisers CPD week running from 14 - 18 June 2021.

This event will be delivered by academics from the School of Philosophy and Art History from the University of Essex. Please view the full programme below.


3.30pm – Welcome to the University of Essex

How teachers and support staff can engage with Essex’s schools and colleges liaison activity.

3.45pm - Higher Ed for Foxes: The Power of Interdisciplinary Degrees for Incurably Curious Students

Dr Matthew Burch, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Centre at the University of Essex

In a cryptic fragment, the Greek poet Archilochus tells us that “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Isaiah Berlin made this long-forgotten fragment famous in his seminal essay The Hedgehog and The Fox, wherein he brilliantly divides influential thinkers – and arguably all human minds – into hedgehogs and foxes. Hedgehogs, Berlin claims, are those who relate everything they learn to “a single central vision”; foxes, on the other hand, seize upon a “vast variety of experiences and objects” without presuming they will fit neatly into some “unitary vision".

Higher Education in the United Kingdom, for the most part, is for hedgehogs. In this workshop, Matt Burch, the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre at the University of Essex, will argue that while monodisciplinary degrees may make hedgehogs happy, they fail to fulfil the needs of incurably curious foxes who crave a flexible curriculum that cuts across the faculties of the Arts and Sciences. What’s more, he will discuss how interdisciplinary degrees furnish foxes with the skills they need to flourish both in postgraduate study and the world of work.

In this workshop we will discuss:

  • What interdisciplinary degrees are.
  • Why they make a great fit for certain types of students.
  • Four major approaches to pedagogy and how they promote learning.
  • Why interdisciplinary study fits well with the most effective approaches to pedagogy.
  • Why interdisciplinary study furnishes students with important skills for success in work and life.

4.30pm – Final thoughts

Book your place

Bookings are now open for this event. Please complete the form below to book your place.