Marpeck Dean's Conference

Transcending Disciplinary Boundaries

Faculty to explore holistic learning

May 26-27, 2022
Hosted by Bluffton University

Although institutions are divided into disciplines, knowledge is not. How do we encourage students to cross boundaries and see knowledge as more holistic? 

Productive teaching, learning and research can often emerge through interdisciplinary approaches and curricula. Faculty from Mennonite affiliated colleges and seminaries in the US and Canada are invited to explore ideas for cross-disciplinary learning at the 2022 Marpeck Dean’s Conference.

This conference is supported by the Marpeck Fund, whose mission is “to strengthen cooperation among the Mennonite institutions of Higher Education in the U.S. and Canada.” Typically, teams of approximately five faculty members and the chief academic officer will attend from each institution, with teams including both senior and junior faculty members.

Presentation proposals

Proposals for 6-8 minute presentations describing or imagining opportunities are now accepted. Presentations are intended to be brief and encourage discussion among the panel and audience members.

Proposal deadline:

Please send proposals by April 4 to Lamar Nisly at

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Team teaching models that cross disciplinary lines
  • Cross-cultural and community-based learning
  • An interdisciplinary experience to deepen disciplinary understanding
  • Problem-based or project-based curricular design
  • Connecting with diverse student populations through breaking from traditional disciplinary categories
  • Exploring intersectionality in student identities
  • Town and Gown: fostering community partnerships
  • Faculty research across disciplines
  • What term best captures this approach—interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, something else?
  • The Internet has broken down lots of boundaries in information. At the same time it serves as an echo chamber. How does a modern college duplicate the problems of the Internet? How does it duplicate the opportunities of the internet?
  • How best to support students whose sense of a disciplinary home has been upturned because of a cross-cultural or other immersive experience?
  • How might bi-vocational or adjuncts who are working in another field while teaching contribute to interdisciplinary learning?

In addition, to build on last year’s Course Development Institute, we invite participants of that conference to present an overview of their course redesign. 

Conference registration

Most expenses for the conference will be covered by the Marpeck Fund. The Marpeck Fund will reimburse up to $500 for people traveling by air and up to $100 for people traveling by car/van. Remaining travel costs are the responsibility of the sending institution.

Lodging will be in single rooms in Bluffton residence halls. Deadline to register to attend the conference is May 10.