Training Generalists in Higher Education: Its Theoretical Basis and Prospects

Posted: 28 Sep 2019

See all articles by Vladimir Mokiy

Vladimir Mokiy

Institute of Transdisciplinary Technologies

Date Written: September 18, 2019


Aim/Purpose: 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.

Background: 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.

Methodology: 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.

Contribution: 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.

Findings: 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.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Practitioners are barely interested in the questions of ontology and gnoseology. They are interested in optimal solution of a certain complex multifactor problem. As opined by L. Bertalanffy, one of the founders of general system theory, this solution would be possible if a generalist was present within a working group of disciplinary specialists - practitioners. As a result, practitioners should use their connections and opportunity to initiate education or preparation of generalists in universities.

Recommendations for Researchers: 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. Al-so, 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.

Impact on Society: The final document of the Summit of the United Nations with the agenda on development for the time period starting from 2015, Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015), contains 17 goals in the field of stable development and 169 tasks. This is the complex multifactor problem. Therefore, preparation of generalists in higher education and their inclusion in the groups of disciplinary specialists on the regional, state, and international level will make it possible to solve this problem optimally. As a result, development of society will be more manageable and stable.

Future Research: 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.

Keywords: [comma septransdisciplinarity, synthesis of knowledge, generalists, systems transdisciplinary approacharated]

JEL Classification: Z19

Suggested Citation

Mokiy, Vladimir, Training Generalists in Higher Education: Its Theoretical Basis and Prospects (September 18, 2019). Available at SSRN:

Vladimir Mokiy (Contact Author)

Institute of Transdisciplinary Technologies ( email )

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Nalchik, 360016

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