“[But] if people get to meet people they’ve never met before, then I think we’ll be successful.” The event admittedly has a “game show feel,” but it might begin to address some important questions, Goodman says. Shrikanth Narayanan, chair of the university’s research committee, says he believes developing social opportunities for faculty is an important step in encouraging them to work together.
Universities are spending plenty of time and money building new buildings and restructuring colleges to stimulate interdisciplinary work, but the event will begin to explore whether one of the key obstacles is as simple as shyness. Narayanan should know a thing or two about cross discipline work: In addition to his appointment as a professor of electrical engineering, he’s also a professor of computer science, linguistics and psychology.
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Steven Goodman, who has helped organize the event, sounds a bit like the host of The Bachelor when he discusses the concept.
A professor in the university’s dental school, Goodman says he’s cautiously optimistic that some sparks will fly.
After the “speed dating sessions,” faculty will be encouraged to self-select into groups of four or more to begin the outlines of their research concept.