Interdisciplinary Programs at Ithaca College to be Restructured

ITHACA, NY — In light of the college-wide emphasis on integrative learning and international studies anticipated in the IC20/20 vision, the distinctive mission of the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies (DIIS) is no longer confined to a single division within Ithaca College. Consequently, the DIIS will be eliminated effective with the spring semester of 2011. All of its academic programs, centers, institutes and projects will be transferred elsewhere within the college.

Since its founding in 2004, the DIIS has successfully met its mission of expanding the possibilities for IC students to study abroad and to incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives into their major fields of study. The DIIS has also sponsored a number of ongoing projects and activities that provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that bring together multi-disciplinary teams. The IC20/20 vision seeks to build on the success of the DIIS by articulating these core principles across the entire campus.

The degree programs in Culture and Communication and Aging Studies, along with the minor in Muslim Cultures, will move to the School of Humanities and Sciences. The Legal Studies major will move to the School of Business. The Gerontology Institute, Project Look Sharp and the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity — with its minors in African Diaspora Studies and Latino/a Studies — will also move to Humanities and Sciences, where they will be closer to the students, faculty and resources on which they draw most extensively. The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) will move to the Office of the Provost, under the direction of Tanya Saunders in her new role as Assistant Provost for International Programs and Special Projects.

“I would like to thank the faculty and administrative leadership of the DIIS for working with me to develop this plan, which will pave the way for a college-wide emphasis on integrative learning,” said Gregory Woodward, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dean Saunders has been a true champion for the division and will continue to be a campus leader as she moves to the provost’s office to direct the college’s international studies programs as well as FLEFF and other projects. The School of Business and School of Humanities and Sciences will benefit greatly by adding these special academic programs and will be able to provide new support to ensure their ongoing success.”

Dean Saunders is excited to be returning her primary energies to international studies. “I have enjoyed leading the DIIS, and especially the opportunity to work closely with so many outstanding faculty members and students. I am proud of what we have accomplished, but at the same time I look forward to leading the college’s growing emphasis on international studies and the development of a global perspective among our students.”

DIIS assistant dean Margie Arnold will continue to provide support through the transition period this spring by assisting students with advising and curricular questions. DIIS students who expect to graduate this spring and summer will still graduate as members of the division, while continuing and new students will enter into their new school.

“We are excited about the new synergies and opportunities created by adding the DIIS programs to our existing H&S programs, many of which already have close collaborative relationships,” said Leslie Lewis, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. “We will be examining ways that we can best support interdisciplinary teaching and learning within H&S and in collaboration with the professional schools.”

Gregory Woodward