Dialogue Across the Disciplines


About the Program

What are the questions that keep you up at night? What do you wish more people were taking an interest in and talking about? Participate in the University of Washington Honors Program’s pilot “Dialogue Across the Disciplines”. Be part of the dialogue by asking the questions and generating conversations that span disciplines and ideologies.

The project has three key objectives: 1) gather significant questions from students, faculty, staff, and the larger community. Questions addressing social and economic realities of our current time are encouraged; 2) facilitate interdisciplinary inquiry that engages diverse perspectives; and 3) create dialogue around the questions and the proposed solutions.

The intended outcome of the project lies not in a formal presentation of the questions and their solutions, though this will happen, but rather aims to create opportunities for dialogue on critical topics of interest.  Discussion forums will also facilitate networking and community building among students, alums, and the UW and local communities.  

We welcome dialogue across the disciplines that serves the interests and needs of the university, local industry, non-profits, arts, and health care.

AWARD: $500 (one award given out per quarter to a student or group who submits/presents a proposal)

How to Get Involved

The Questions:

We invite students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners to submit questions in the form of abstracts. Accepted questions (no more than 250 words) will be posted for students to review and present proposals. Questions will be reviewed and posted on a weekly basis, systematically populating the list of questions for students to review. Students will propose a solution to a question through an online Catalyst survey.

Current students are encouraged to submit questions related to a research project, service engagement, leadership position, or international experience in which they are currently involved. Questions emerging from a course are also welcome. Submissions relevant to internship experiences with local nonprofits and for-profit businesses are also encouraged.

All questions will be anonymous. However, the student (or group) will have the opportunity to meet the person who developed the question if their proposal, i.e Catalyst application, is accepted (assuming students did not submit a proposal for their own questions!).

Question Parameters:

  1. The question should require solutions across two or more disciplines
  2. The question should be of current relevance with historical foundations
  3. No more than a 250 word question abstract

The Proposals:

Students will submit a proposal in response to a question and, as part of the proposal, will suggest a timeframe for the investigative process as well as a proposed structure for engagement in solutions to the question. To explore the current opportunities, check out our Current Questions page.

Through the Catalyst form, students must write up an proposal and create a plan for presenting a solution to the question. Students are encouraged to work in teams of 2-3, but individual propasals will be accepted.  Students will be expected to add focus and direction to the question and present a clearly laid out plan for presenting a possible solution for discussion. Students are not required to solve the problem, but rather prepare for a lively discussion on the topic.

The expectations are that the individual student, or student group, selected present their investigations, outcomes, and conclusions to the Honors community and lead a discussion forum related to the question and the process of investigation. Invitees will include the UW community as well as Honors alumni, business and community leaders with interest in the question.  The discussion forums will be supported by the Honors Program and showcased on the Honors website. Forum structure will be seminar style and take place on a quarterly basis.

Proposal Parameters:

  1. Must provide a reasonable timeline for completion (one to two quarters on average)
  2. If a group proposal, students must demonstrate how they will work collaboratively with their partners: student peers, community/business members, university faculty, etc.
  3. Students must present a feasible plan of action for the investigative process of the question
  4. Students will provide initial resources/connections to aid in solving the problem

Timeframe and Deadlines

The deadline for question submissions is rolling. The Honors Program will vet questions each week and will routinely update the list of questions. To submit a question, please complete the question submission survey.

Deadline for presenting a proposal to work on a solution is the first Friday of the first week of each quarter (including summer A and B terms). Proposals will be reviewed and selected no later than the end of the third week of the quarter. To submit a proposal for a current question, please complete the proposal survey.

Discussion Forum for Accepted Proposals

Once your proposal is selected, you will use this online forum to support your investigative process and to build an online community that supports the work you are doing. You may invite peers, instructors, alumni, leaders in the community, UW staff (advisers and mentors), in addition to any others who may benefit and contribute to a lively discourse.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not in the Honors Program, am I eligible to submit a question and also submit a proposal for a question?

Yes, all UW students are eligible to submit questions and proposals! You may even submit a proposal for your own questions!

How are the proposals judged and who judges the proposals?

Questions are reviewed by the Honors Council, faculty, and staff. Student proposals are evaluated by the Honors Council.

Do I need to enact my proposal or is the detailed plan for addressing the question the final requirement?

You need not execute the proposed solution. You will present the process and the final results in addition to leading a discussion forum.

How much is the award if your proposal is selected and how will the award be distributed?

The award money is $500 total. If you are part of a group proposal, the $500 will be equally divided among the group. If selected, you will be contacted by the Honors Program directly to discuss distribution of the award.

Are alums allowed to submit questions?

Yes. Alums are welcome and strongly encouraged to submit questions!

Additional Information

Additional questions? Please contact Julie Villegas, Associate Director of the Honors Program, at villegas@uw.edu.