Our founders wanted Griffith University to be different when we began teaching in 1975. Strong ties with our Asian neighbours, a School of Australian Environmental Studies and offering places to mature-aged students were all quite radical initiatives for a university in 1970s Australia. Likewise, offering ‘interdisciplinary’ courses was a fresh alternative to traditional degrees.  

This interdisciplinary approach was placed at the heart of our four foundation Schools, influencing both teaching and research. For example, sociology was seen as relevant to all four Schools: Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science.  

In many ways this interdisciplinary approach was an experiment. While some staff considered this teaching/research model successful, there were early Griffith staff who felt the experiment had failed. Some of our early students also believed the model failed to deliver on its intention.  

Vice Chancellor Professor Carolyn Evans recently announced that she will be reinvigorating our founding student-centred interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research. The Griffith Archive’s online exhibition ‘A Unique Student Experience’ looks back at the successes and some of the challenges of implementing our pioneering interdisciplinary model. 

You can view our exhibition ‘A Unique Student Experience’ here.