Integrative Studies

Tomson 283
507-786-6707

wp.stolaf.edu/cis

In the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS), established in 1999, “integrative studies” refers to learning that intentionally combines diverse methods, experiences, learning styles, subject matters, and on- or off-campus resources. The college has a long-standing commitment to integrative studies, evident in its many successful interdisciplinary majors and concentrations, and in the faculty’s readiness to combine diverse approaches to course subjects. The CIS's principal activity is to support students who plan and carry out individual, integrative majors and to help students identify and pursue opportunities for integrative learning on- and off-campus. The goal of the CIS is to enhance the coherence of students’ academic careers by encouraging them to make meaningful connections among the many parts of their educational experience and helping them to build bridges between the college and other communities.

The Center for Integrative Studies also administers the Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowships, an opportunity for student-faculty partnership in research and inquiry. More information on the program, and on past projects, is available at https://wp.stolaf.edu/cis/magnus-the-good-award/.

The Individual Major

The CIS is the academic home for students pursuing self-designed, integrative majors. Students propose a sequence of courses, seminars, independent studies, or experiential learning as the means of pursuing an individual major. Proposals must include:

  1. A description of the proposed area or topic of study. 
  2. A list of 11-12 courses and other learning experiences, with an explanation of how each contributes to the major. 
  3. A set of questions that will guide studies in the major, including broader questions in the disciplines supporting the major and specific questions related to narrower topics of the major.
  4. Initial plans for 2-3 potential senior integrative projects 
  5. A summary of the student’s preparation to carry out the proposed major, and a justification of the major as a coherent, integrative  academic plan. 

Each proposal must have the support of a faculty academic advisor. The coherence, depth, and feasibility of each proposal are evaluated in a Final Review Consultation (FRC) convened by the CIS, after which the proposal is forwarded to a faculty committee that gives final approval or returns the proposal for further revision. At the end of the senior year, the student’s work in the major is presented to a CIS faculty certification committee for review. Proposals for individual majors may be submitted any time during the sophomore year and the first part of the junior year.

Recent individual majors include: Archaeology: Culture and Methodology; Nonprofit Mission and Management; Technology Innovation and Civic Development; Disability Studies; International Development; Criminalistics; African Identities in Media and Development; Cognitive Neuroscience: Cells to Systems; Photographic Theory; Global Health Diplomacy; Digital Art and Animation; Studies in Pre-Architecture and Sustainability; Performance Technology and Design; Film Analysis and Criticism; International Human Rights; Sports and Activities Administration; Media and Public Relations: Marketing to Multiple Audiences; English Language Learners in the Elementary Classroom; Politics, Economics and Philosophy.

The Web Portfolio

Students with individual majors create and maintain a public web portfolio that demonstrates the integration and coherence of the major.  Its web-based structure allows students to make explicit links among the examples of their own work as well as to outside sites of public discussion related to the topic of the major.  The portfolio also allows students to track and reflect on their intellectual development as they complete their studies.  The web portfolio is presented to the faculty certification committee with the list of completed courses and integrative senior project at the end of the major.

For specific requirements for the individual major or for information about other activities of the Center for Integrative Studies, please contact the director or assistant director.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major

Distinction

The Center for Integrative Studies does not award distinction in the individual major.

All individual majors are eligible for the Ken Bonde Memorial Award. Students are nominated by their faculty advisors in the CIS; awards are determined by a committee chaired by the Director. More information about the award is available on the CIS website.

Integrative Senior Project

All senior integrative projects include work during both semesters of the senior year. Students determine the topic and scope of their project in consultation with their advisor at the beginning of the fall semester. Senior project plans describe the anticipated final product and the basis for its evaluation, as well as a research plan to support or contextualize the project. Whether the final product is a traditional research paper, a performance, a portfolio of essays, or a panel presentation, it must have a clear grounding in academic research.

For the fall semester students choose a level III course or other experience closely related to the topics and activities of the major and senior project, or, in consultation with their faculty advisor, may enroll in IS 391 Senior Project I, an independent course graded on a P/N basis. During the spring semester, students must enroll in IS 392 Senior Project II, a graded course which comprises the completion and public presentation of the senior project. Enrollment in IS 392 is by permission, upon evidence that the basic elements of the required web portfolio are in place. A brief description of the student's major and senior project appears on the official transcript.

Students may also register independent study (IS 298 Independent Study), independent research (IS 398 Independent Research), or internships (IS 294 Academic InternshipIS 394 Academic Internship) through the CIS, if the supervising faculty member advises that as the appropriate course designation.

IS 294: Academic Internship

IS 298: Independent Study

IS 391: Senior Project I

Students with individual majors register for their senior integrative projects in each semester of the senior year. The first semester, generally used for research and other preparation in consultation with the student's adviser, receives a P/N evaluation; the second semester, and final presentation of the project to the faculty certification committee, receives a grade. A brief description of the student's major and senior project appear on the transcript.

IS 392: Senior Project II

Students with individual majors register for their senior integrative projects in each semester of the senior year. The first semester, generally used for research and other preparation in consultation with the student's adviser, receives a P/N evaluation; the second semester, and final presentation of the project to the faculty certification committee, receives a grade. A brief description of the student's major and senior project appear on the transcript.

IS 394: Academic Internship

IS 398: Independent Research

Director, 2018-2019

Dana L. Gross

Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary and General Studies

developmental psychology; off-campus study

Kevin M. Crisp (on leave)

Associate Professor of Biology

electrophysiology; computational neuroscience; microglia

Todd F. Edwards

Assistant Professor of Theater

design and technical production; stage combat; media and video design

Timothy R. Howe

Professor of History

ancient Greece and Rome; the Middle East; Alexander the Great; ancient archeology

Charles Huff

Professor of Psychology

social psychology; moral psychology; science and technology studies; psychology of religion

Dale H. Kruse

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

voice; lyric theater

Donna McMillan

Associate Professor of Psychology

clinical psychology; personality psychology; environmental psychology; positive psychology

Justin W. Merritt

Professor of Music

composition; theory; instrumentation; electronic music

Linda Y. Mokdad

Assistant Professor of English

film history; classical film theory; feminist film theory; art cinema; Arab cinemas

Sian E. Muir

Entrepreneur in Residence

marketing; entrepreneurship; strategy; arts management

Peter B.B. Nelson

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

new media; photography

John Saurer

Associate Professor of Art and Art History

sculture; drawing; printmaking; installation

David C. Schalliol

Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology

social stratification; urban sociology; visual sociology; criminology; education

William Sonnega

Associate Professor of Theater

theater; media studies

Charles Taliaferro

Professor of Philosophy

philosophy of religion; ethics; philosophy of mind; aesthetics

Christopher M. Tradowsky

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

contemporary art; critial theory; African art; gender studies

Anne Walter

Professor of Biology

comparative animal and cell physiology; membrane physiology and biophysics; comparative enzymology; applying biology in international settings

Thomas A. Williamson

Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology

Southeast Asia; theory; globalization; medical anthropology