In 1993, former President Rudenstine sought to address the fragmentation of knowledge and the difficulties of communication across disciplinary and departmental boundaries by creating five University-wide inter-faculty initiatives. The Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative (MBB) was established to bring the perspectives of neuroscience into sustained and constructive dialogue with those of other natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. The MBB Initiative, by bringing together diverse representatives from Harvard's different schools and disciplines, hopes to provide an alternative to the self-reinforcing isolation of scholarship.
The mission of MBB is to utilize insights gained from interdisciplinary discourse to improve human self-understanding, to educate both faculty and students in new paradigms to understand human experience and behavior, and to foster collaborative research that would not be feasible within traditional disciplinary boundaries. University faculty participate in MBB in a variety of ways. Some faculty with a particularly strong commitment to undergraduate education serve on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Standing Committee on Mind, Brain, and Behavior, and several members of this group head the MBB tracks in participating concentrations. Other faculty may advise students in these tracks or the secondary field, others teach required and elective courses, and still others conduct laboratory projects or research programs open to undergraduates.
Faculty also mentor, teach, and supervise research undertaken by graduate students across several Harvard faculties, as well as direct the graduate secondary field in MBB in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.