About Bill Cullifer
Bill Cullifer is the executive director and founder of Webprofessionals.org a non-profit membership supported professional association established in 1996, providing community, education and certification for Web professionals worldwide.
As the organization’s executive director, Cullifer participates in a variety of industry, government and educational advisory boards that assist the organization in developing and delivering professional standards and improving communication between all Web professionals, business and industry, education and government. He serves as the organization’s chief evangelist and advocates on behalf of its members to stimulate the continued growth and opportunities of the Web. He also provides daily podcast regarding a variety of Web professional topics at WebProfessionals.org/blog
On Why Interdisciplinary Education Matters and What Industry Professionals are Saying Audio Podcast
Why Interdisciplinary Education Matters
By Bill Cullifer
My personal and professional interest in interdisciplinary education dates back to my work experience with the telecommunications industry in the early 1980’s. As a result of new U.S. legislation, AT&T the telecommunications giant, no longer had the monopoly over the telecom industry ushering in new era of competition. The breakup of this telecom industry opened the door for new products and services and reduced pricing for consumers. It also posed many challenges for the highly technical and engineering company.
Challenges and Opportunities
To remain competitive, engineering, operations, sales and, marketing had to work together to develop new programs, services and customer offerings. It was through this process, that I learned the many challenges of departmental infighting, skills and a sizable communication as well as personality gaps that often resulted in failed programs with disastrous financial consequences.
To rise above those challenges, various departments and individuals many for the first time, needed to adapt to new ways of thinking, personalities, and styles. To be effective technology, operations and a variety of business units had to work better together for the common good of the company, shareholders, stakeholders and the customer.
How does this relate to the Web profession?
History has a tendency to repeat itself and it became clear to me in the late 1990’s when I founded the Webprofessionals.org organization that Web Designers, Web Developers and Web Business professionals would face many similar challenges. As a result, I’ve been advocating on interdisciplinary education for Web professionals ever since.
Of all of the career industries, the Web profession requires perhaps the greatest cross-disciplinary interaction and development because the work in this profession requires an element of art and design, technology, business and communication, self-management and project management skills. Consequently, the Web professional occupation requires a constantly varying combination of artistic imagination, linear thinking, symbolic connections, technical skills and business acumen. Successful career preparation involves an in depth as well as a broad range of academic preparation as well as the cultivation of such intangible assets as flexibility, problem solving and interpersonal skills.
Why is this Topic important and What Can be Done?
With record high school dropout rates, unemployment and a well-documented skills gap, its time that we work together to get this right. To accomplish this goal the stakeholders need to work together better. For example, Business and Industry, Professional associations, trade organizations need to invest time and resources to support interdisciplinary education and stop working solo and in silos. Educators, including those that make education policy decisions also need to work better together. An example of that would be to recognize the value of Art when promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Also, those responsible for teaching and developing Art programs need to understand and appreciate the importance of integrating technology and business into their curriculum and teaching programs.
I’ve learned a lot about the interdisciplinary education topic and the complexity of education. When time permits, I’ll write a book about my experiences. In the meantime, I remain committed to the supporting Web professional education and its core value to business and industry, the Web profession and to the success of our economy. To that end, with the support from business, industry and education professionals, I’ll continue to work diligently to convene the various stakeholders to assist me with making the business case for why interdisciplinary Web professional education matters.
If you have an interest in participating please let me know.
What are Industry Professionals and those that Hire Say about the Topic
The four minute audio interview (above) with Kelly Goto, of Goto media a San Francisco, CA a leading Web design firm is an excellent example of why cross and Interdisciplinary skills matter.