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, in the history of the Paracollege program (1969-2000), and in the faculty’s ability 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. In all these activities, 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 by helping them build bridges between the college and other communities.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major

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 of study
  2. A list of 11-12 courses and other learning experiences, with an explanation of how each contributes to the major
  3. Initial plans for 2-3 potential senior integrative projects
  4. 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: Architecture and Scenic Design; Human Resource Psychology; Intercultural Medical Practice; Social and Community Development; Religion and the Visual Arts; Growing Up in America: A Systems Thinking Approach; Social Marketing and the Environment; Criminalistics; Writing for Performance; Philosophy of Religion; Photographic Theory; Management and Media Relations; Digital Art and Animation; Cognitive Neuroscience: Cells to Systems; Public Health Policy and Management; African Identities in Media and Development; Performance Technology and Design; Sports and Activities Administration; Global Health Diplomacy; Studies in Pre-Architecture ad Sustainability.

The Web Portfolio

Students with individual majors create and maintain a public web portfolio. A web portfolio preserves important learning experiences and academic work. Its web-based structure allows students to make explicit links within their own work and to the work of other students or other sites of public discussion. The web portfolio is presented to the faculty certification committee with the courses list 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.

Distinction

See Academic Honors

Information about the criteria and application process for awards of distinction in the individual major is available on the CIS website.

Requirements for an Individual Major:

Proposals must include:

  1. A description of the proposed area of study
  2. A list of 11-12 courses and other learning experiences, with an explanation of how each contributes to the major
  3. Initial plans for 2-3 potential senior integrative projects
  4. 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.

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. For the fall term 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 term, students must enroll in IS 392 Senior Project II, a graded course which comprises the completion and public presentation of the senior project. 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, 2016-2017

Dana L. Gross

Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary and General Studies

developmental psychology; off-campus study

Mary S. Carlsen (on leave Interim and spring)

Professor of Social Work and Family Studies

social policy; global social work; professional ethics; end of life care; family studies

Douglas J. Casson

Associate Professor of Political Science

political philosophy; constitutional law

Todd F. Edwards

Assistant Professor of Theater

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

Louis K. Epstein

Assistant Professor of Music

musicology

Gary C. Gisselman

Artist in Residence in Theater

directing; musical theater

Joan Hepburn

Associate Professor of English

African American literature; drama; race and ethnic literature; western African drama in English

Timothy R. Howe (on leave)

Professor of History

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

Anna K. Kuxhausen

Associate Professor of History

Russian history; women's history

Jeremy L. Loebach

Assistant Professor of Psychology

cognitive neuroscience; speech and hearing sciences; psycholinguistics

Robert W. McClure

Associate Professor of Education

social studies; educational psychology; curriculum and instruction

Justin W. Merritt

Associate 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

Gary M. Muir

Associate Professor of Psychology

behavioral neuroscience; cognitive neuroscience; neurobiology of spatial navigation; neurobiology of learning and memory

Sian E. Muir

Entrepreneur in Residence

marketing; entrepreneurship; strategy; arts management

Rebecca S. Richards

Assistant Professor of English

rhetoric and composition; feminist/gender studies; media studies

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

Christopher M. Tradowsky

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

contemporary art; critial theory; African art; gender studies

Thomas A. Williamson

Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology

Southeast Asia; theory; globalization; medical anthropology