In contrast to many programs discussed in the literature, these programs are intended for majors and honors students in all scientific disciplines. They aim to develop transferable skills and a broad outlook on science, in addition to a rigorous foundation in disciplinary knowledge. Interactive engagement and integration of content across disciplines are at the core of the approach.
Each program brings together a strong community of scholars that includes students, faculty, staff, and administrators. We explore the benefits of these communities to students and describe the attraction and challenges for the faculty and students who work in them. In that context, we discuss institutional challenges that we faced in creating and sustaining those communities, and in disseminating the ideas on which they are based. In conclusion, we consider the general problem of designing and implementing cross-disciplinary programs.