University of Haifa launches the multiversity revolution

Jonathan discussing study dive-sites whilst on the Sharkquest Arabia Musandam Expedition in March 2011 with Dr. Ralf Sonntag (Director of IFAW Germany) and Al Reeve (Researcher, Oman Shark Study, Sultan Qaboos University of Oman).

The University of Haifa is launching the multiversity revolution and will present the new approach at an Open Day to be held on March 8, 2018, from 4:00 PM, on the university campus. The multiversity approach is based on the belief that the future depends on academic combinations. Tomorrow’s professions require the combination of different fields in order to create holistic and multidisciplinary knowledge, accompanied by practical tools.

As noted, the multiversity approach reflects an assumption that the job market of the future demands multidisciplinary knowledge and a toolbox including broad-based capabilities alongside the specific field of specialization. By way of example: combining law and economics will enable graduates to be more than “just” attorneys and to bring extensive economic knowledge to the field of law. Graduates who combine psychology and economics will be able to use their knowledge of human behavior to enhance their work as economists. Another example of a future profession is based on the combination of cognitive science and information systems. In recent years, researchers have realized that in many cases the human brain acts in a very similar manner to computer networks. Accordingly, knowledge in the field of communication systems acquired in the Department of Information Systems is critical for the field of brain and behavioral research. The reverse is also true: in order to simulate human behavior as closely as possible, programmers need to know what causes human behavior. These are just a few of the countless examples of potential combinations that will be presented in greater detail at the University’s Open Day.

The multiversity revolution also reinforces the importance of the humanities, which provide a vital toolbox that include profound analytical capabilities, diverse perspectives, creativity, and other skills. For example, the combination of innovative technology and the humanities at the University of Haifa is reflected in the field of the digital humanities. Graduates in this field will be equipped with advanced technological capabilities alongside a profound grounding in various aspects of the humanities.

“We need to train people for jobs that don’t exist yet and to prepare them to solve problems using technologies that don’t exist yet,” explains University President Prof. Ron Robin. “This is the greatest challenge facing the academic world in the 21st century. We believe that an essential first step is to start to break down the walls between the different academic disciplines. Our goal is not only to ensure that students learn different fields, but also to provide them with tools to enable them to use each field to benefit the other. This demands cognitive flexibility, creativity, thinking outside the box, and an ability to process data and use them differently in each instance. This toolbox will enable graduates to cope with today’s rapidly-changing world.”

University Rector Prof. Gustavo Mesch was one of the first sociologists in Israel to combine technological aspects in his studies and is now a leading scholar in the sociology of social networks. “For centuries, universities were based on academic disciplines that were like fortresses, each one showing why it was different to the others. Even when students studied into disciplines, the format was of two halves that did not communicate with each other. We are trying to get these ‘halves’ to talk to one another and to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts,” he explains.

The open Day at the University of Haifa will be held on Thursday, March 8, in the campus from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

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