With a new series of Ithaca College Integrative Curriculum (IC2) demonstration projects launching this fall, Ithaca College continues to demonstrate a desire to expand integrative curriculum initiatives.
Associate provost Bashar Hanna, coordinator of IC2, said a faculty panel, the dean’s council, the Office of the Provost and President Tom Rochon selected 10 integrative projects from a pool of 22 proposals this summer.
IC2 was introduced in 2009 after faculty who attended listening sessions expressed a desire to integrate the campus learning community by connecting different schools through an interdisciplinary curriculum.
Though Rochon did not mention IC2 on Aug. 19 at the larger all-college meeting, Hanna said, the initiatives are still closely linked to the president’s plan for the college’s future.
“Looking at it from a business plan model, we’ve experimented with demonstration projects, and the lessons learned from those suggest that we can integrate our curriculum,” he said.
The newest projects, also called “IC2 Round Two,” include a peer-mentoring program, which pairs upper-level students with underclassmen, a climate-action research team and several studio projects coordinated by Nancy Cornwell, professor and chair of the television-radio department.
The four studio projects, known as IC Studio 2.0, cover topics like “Ethnographic Research and Film-Making,” “Social Entrepreneurship in Action,” “Donor Recognition and Stewardship” and “Ithaca College Wellness Initiative.”
Gordon Rowland, professor of strategic communication, will teach “Insight: Combining Expertise,” an IC2 course, this fall. The course is designed to train students to use systems thinking to link ideas from different disciplines.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but it sure is going to be fun,” Rowland said. “I want [the students’] minds to be blown.”
In the future, Hanna said students and faculty might see integrative courses like Rowland’s institutionalized permanently.
Cornwell said IC2 was put in place to kickstart future initiatives.
“It’s not like IC2 is the integrative learning experience,” Cornwell said. “It was a mechanism to generate faculty ideas so we can start thinking about possibilities, knowing that the college is going to be more integrative in the future.”
Cornwell helped plan and develop “Media and Social Change,” an IC2 one-credit course offered last spring that brought students together to learn how to harness the media and stimulate social change. She said students enjoyed her course because it gave them more control over their education.
“There wasn’t a single student who didn’t rave about the opportunity,” Cornwell said.
Sophomore Elizabeth Stoltz, who was enrolled in the course last spring, said IC2 classes set the college apart from others.
“Interdisciplinary courses are definitely a strong suit of the college,” Stoltz said.
Hanna said he isn’t surprised that students and faculty are embracing the expanding curricula.
“It serves as a confirmation that students and faculty are recognizing that lifelong learning goes beyond a single discipline,” Hanna said.