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Interdisciplinary Studies students begin their degree by learning about the Four Core IDS Skills that they will be developing. With the help of BYU-Idaho’s Interdisciplinary Studies council, we will be taking an in-depth look at each of the four skills with ‘Solving Complex Problems’ as our next featured skill.

SOLVE COMPLEX PROBLEMS: A subject or problem is complex when it has multiple parts that require study by different disciplines. An interdisciplinary approach critically analyzes the relevant disciplinary insights and attempts to produce a more comprehensive understanding or propose a holistic solution.

“Interdisciplinarians develop a functional awareness of the many parts involved in complex problems,” said Kevin Brower, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies. “They seek to gain a more complete understanding of the issues and facilitate the integration of ideas from a broad spectrum of experience and expertise.”

“This is what employers and organizations are looking for. They want people that can seek out and solve complexity,” said Nathan Peterson, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, “This skill will allow you to tackle the challenges of the day and become a valued member of any team.”

According to Indeed’s Career Guide, “Employers highly value individuals they can trust to both identify and then implement solutions as fast and effectively as possible” (Problem-Solving Skills).

“As you study information from multiple academic areas you will be able to take the best ideas and concepts from each of your areas and integrate them in new ways,” said Danae Romrell, Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, “This leads to creativity and innovation that will allow you to find unique solutions to difficult problems.”

Finding solutions to problems with an interdisciplinary approach can set you apart in the workplace, especially in a world that is becoming more complex.

“The ability to solve complex problems is a skill that can be applied to all areas of life,” said Dwight Wray, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies. “Through the increased understanding I have gained through my involvement in the Interdisciplinary Studies program, I have improved my ability to analyze and solve complex problems.”

As you work to strengthen this skill as an interdisciplinarian, critical thinking and creative problem solving will come more easily and you’ll become more confident in your career preparation.

“The interdisciplinary classes you will take as part of the IDS program are designed to help you learn to solve complex problems,” said Danae Romrell, Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, “We especially hope that as you approach your project, capstone, and/or internship courses that you will take advantage of the opportunity to apply what you have learned in your coursework to real-world situations.”