Kirk Fiereck is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, with academic training in the natural sciences (B.S. in biochemistry), public health (M.P.H.) and the social sciences (M.Phil. in sociomedical sciences / medical anthropology). His research and intellectual interests include the ethnography of biomedicine, public health and expertise; globalization and global health; political economy; postcolonial studies; public health ethics and bioethics; science and technology studies; sexual theory; sexuality, gender, feminist and queer studies; social movements; and risk and the articulation of social difference.

The process of observation has made us much more critical about our approaches to teaching in an interdisciplinary context. In the case of Kirk's class, which introduced graduate-level students who primarily use positivist, statistical research methods and analysis, it became clear how challenging it is to introduce students to qualitative and ethnographic research methods and analysis. Both Matt and I have become critically aware of the difficulties and challenges that true interdisciplinary research and teaching entail. We also were able to see, first-hand, how rare and challenging it is in the academy to teach students how to speak across disciplinary difference. This observation and evaluation process has allowed us to unpack and critically analyze our teaching methods in order to hone our interdisciplinary teaching skills. Further, we can now strategize about how to effectively translate our field research into the classroom setting by repackaging it into legible, bite-sized examples so that students can see the value and critical need for cross-disciplinary work. -- Kirk Fiereck

Observation Plans:
Kirk Fiereck's observation by Matthew Sanger
Matthew Sanger's observation by Kirk Fiereck