Associate Professor Cameron Bushnell has been selected to lead the new Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Clemson University as interim chair. Bushnell currently serves as director of the Pearce Center for Professional Communication.
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies launches on July 1, 2023, is home to four existing degree programs: Bachelor of Arts degrees in Global Black Studies, Women’s Leadership and World Cinema, and a doctoral degree in Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design. The Department will be housed in the new College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) and is part of the vision of the College’s founding dean, Nicholas Vazsonyi.
“The new department not only provides a much-needed home for our existing interdisciplinary programs, but it will serve as an incubator for future programs and as a platform for faculty and students from across Clemson to meet, exchange ideas and engage in meaningful study and research,” Vazsonyi said. “Cameron Bushnell comes to the job with substantial administrative experience running the interdisciplinary Pearce Center, and she is well-qualified to take on the task of getting a new department off to a running start.”
Bushnell is a faculty member in the Department of English and has been director of the Pearce Center since 2016. The Pearce Center exists to promote effective communication as an integral part of the learning process at Clemson. It offers undergraduate client-based internships, professional development for graduate teaching assistants and faculty writing workshops.
“The strengths of the department will be an infrastructure that helps students pursue multiple interests and a faculty that already conducts research across disciplines and thus can help students negotiate the borders between different fields of study,” Bushnell said. “Interdisciplinary scholarship is important to meet the demands of contemporary problem-solving that often requires or benefits from multiple perspectives and complex solutions.”
As interim chair, she said her goals would include developing a departmental identity and purpose, beginning work on designing a new undergraduate degree program, establishing a curriculum and developing new departmental policies.
Bushnell holds both a Ph.D. and an M.A. in English from the University of Maryland as well as an M.A. in Government and Politics with an International Relations Specialization, also from UMD. She joined the English faculty at Clemson in 2007, teaching anglophone postcolonial literature and has served the department as associate chair and director of undergraduate studies. In 2023, she organized the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, which was held at Clemson.
“I’m daunted and excited to be part of creating new structures for the University,” she said. “I’m also delighted to be part of a team that is setting up space for collaboration on campus.”
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