Training Generalists in Higher Education: Its Theoretical Basis and Prospects

Vladimir V.S. Mokiy
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 22  •  2019  •  pp. 055-072

Absence of new scientific approaches and specialists (generalists), who professionally obtain such approaches, is one of the main reasons for an ineffective solution of complex multifactor problems of the modern society.

The article briefly describes the concept of systems transdisciplinary integration of knowledge of different scientific disciplines. Also, it shows an opportunity to use this concept education of generalists in higher education.

The article highlights the idea of gestalt of knowledge, which is based on systems transdisciplinary model of spatial unit of order. It describes the basis of gestalt-of-the-one and gestalt-of-the-whole. Also, it explains the differences and practical capabilities of holist generalists and unicentrist generalists.

Loss of identificational attributes can take place during the process of integration of knowledge of different scientific disciplines. The article shows how to avoid this complication within a systems transdisciplinary approach.

Each type of fundamental knowledge has its own carriers, such as scientists and specialists. Therefore, direct interaction of people-carriers of fundamental knowledge has limited potential. Presently, a more practical importance is the interaction between scientists and specialists within the zones of hybridization of fundamental knowledge. Hybridization is the process of systematization of knowledge within specialized systems transdisciplinary models of unit of order. A specialist generalist’s professional work is to organize scientific research, systemise knowledge of different scientific disciplines, make necessary conclusions, and suggest optimal solution for complex multifactor problems. Therefore, generalists should be considered as an important move towards the solution of complex multifactor problems of modern society.

A new scientific approach is a way of widening scientific worldview. A new approach in inorganic chemistry made it possible to create the Mendeleev periodic table of elements. Owing to this table, researchers were able to learn the characteristics and attributes of chemical elements, which can be found in nature. Also, models of systems transdisciplinary approach allow the discovery of new elements and relations of complex multifactor problems. Its absence would, however, hinder the research and the problem description.

The article justifies that preparation of generalists in higher education is one of the main peculiarities of universities of the third generation. Therefore, it might be desirable for organizers of higher education and university leaders to begin speculations regarding this quest, develop educational programs for generalists, and search for optimal forms and methods of solution.

transdisciplinarity, synthesis of knowledge, generalists, systems transdisciplinary approach
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