President Tom Rochon met with students at noon last Thursday to discuss his integrative learning initiative. The initiative, a component of Rochon’s strategic visioning plan, aims to bring the resources of different schools on campus together.
The conversation centered largely on IC Net, a program founded by senior Eddie Lemonier, that Rochon said fits well into his plan to “draw on the best that Ithaca College has to offer.”
IC Net aims to organize activities campuswide by allowing students to post projects they are working on to a database similar to Craigslist. Other students can then express interests in helping with these projects, so that students can work outside of their expertise.
“[We’re] basically trying to simulate what’s going on in the real world, in those real industries, and bring it here to Ithaca College,” Lemonier said.
According to Lemonier, IC Net has been successful for such a young organization. He cites the film “Santa Man” as an example of the student synergy IC Net encourages.
Lemonier said the film was written by two Park students, and he produced it. He said they had music scored through the music school. Lemonier said he envisioned many ways students from all schools could collaborate, as he and his peers did.
IC Net recently hosted its inaugural event, “Show Me Whatcha Got!” on April 9. The event showcased this sort of collaborative work in film, music, photography and art.
Lemonier headed a panel of juniors and seniors at the forum with Rochon. They discussed their experiences working across schools and addressed possible ways to make that process easier.
In addition to IC Net, the panel suggested incorporating extracurricular activities into course curriculums as ways to make it easier for students to get involved outside their major.
“Students are involved in all sorts of ways, whether it’s working on projects in their classes or in extracurricular activities,” Lemonier said. “What we’re trying to do is [give] students credit for participating in these types of things.”
Other panelists voiced similar concerns. Tatiana Sy, a senior culture and communication major, was in charge of the SGA fashion show. She said her assistant creative manager received credit in her choreography class for working the show and said students should be able to get credit for the work they do outside the classroom.
When the panelists finished speaking, they opened it up to the audience as Rochon took notes.
Freshman Cat Nuwer, a journalism major, said she was frustrated when she couldn’t get into a photography class this semester.
“It’s [also] true that it’s really hard for someone in a certain major to take classes outside that major in a different school,” she said.
In addition to his work with IC Net and making it easier to take classes outside a student’s major, Rochon said he hopes to include funding faculty proposals to increase and improve interdisciplinary work.
He said staff members submitted 30 proposals to the provost’s office and plans to fund some of them using $200,000 he allocated for new interdisciplinary initiatives.
Rochon said he is pleased with the way his vision for interdisciplinary work has progressed.
“It’s only since the end of February that we’ve been talking about this on campus, and if you realize that it’s three months later, and we have faculty visualizing what they can do, and you have students coming together and talking about the possibilities, I think we’re making great progress,” he said.