Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Adviser

Sperandio, Jill

Other advisers/committee members

Niles, Spencer G.; Beachum, Floyd; Bodzin, Alec


Interdisciplinary research collaborations (IDRC) are considered essential for addressing the most complex global community problems concerning science, health, education, energy, the environment, and society. In spite of technological advances, supportive funding, and even researcher proclivity to collaborate, these complex interdisciplinary research collaborations are often characterized as rife with conflict that can impede the collaborative processes and outcomes. When these collaborations falter or fail, junior scholars and scientists may be especially vulnerable. Research suggests that complex interactions of institutional, interpersonal, and individual factors can hinder or facilitate IDRC processes and outcomes. While early efforts focused on institutional and team factors, less is known about the individual-level factors or competencies needed for effective engagement in interdisciplinary research collaborations. Meanwhile, there is an escalating urgency to calls for institutions of higher education to provide relevant graduate education opportunities that enable young scholars and scientists to develop the competencies needed for effective interdisciplinary research. This dissertation study investigated two specific questions, 1) what are the individual competencies critical for effective engagement in interdisciplinary research collaborations and 2) what specific learning experiences facilitate the development of those identified competencies during graduate school. This investigation identified 24 individual competencies and 471 developmental learning activities categorized in 18 distinct activity clusters. The results of this study can inform academic leaders interested in developing comprehensive graduate training programs that prepare emerging scholars for diverse careers requiring interdisciplinary research collaboration competence.