One thing I find some students tend to not do is to venture beyond their disciplines or universities to work with other people. One of the oft-studied components to foster creative thinking and outcomes is multiculturalism, sometimes variously studied under terms like heterogeneity, interdisciplinarity or multiple perspectives. My diss. chair herself recognized that I’m a bridge person and pointed that out to me: I cross cultures frequently and I live at the intersection of cultures. I am used to this; I come from Singapore, a melting pot of cultures. I’m comfortable in cross-cultural settings. I don’t think about “difference” consciously although difference can manifest itself in our discourses in many ways, settings and relationships. I’m getting influenced by M, since she is an expert in institutional ethnography. :). So the point of mentioning this is that my background reveals much about my research inquiry and interests.
I hope to see more collaborations among students in our program with those of dissimilar backgrounds and that they would venture outside of our program/school to take courses. Just stop going to courses because “my friend is taking it.” Stop keeping to your cliques. Work and talk to different people.
Perks of venturing outside one’s comfort zone? I’ve made many connections through getting to know people outside my culture, program, school, university and by being involved in AERA. These lead to possible collaborations and divergent thinking.