What is Integrative Learning?
Integrative learning is the process of making connections among concepts and experiences so that information and skills can be applied to novel and complex issues or challenges. The Themes and Perspectives component of the ICC is designed to introduce students to integrative learning and additional coursework in the ICC and the major allows students to build their integrative learning capacity further.
The ICC is designed to facilitate the integration of not only a student’s curricular experiences (major, general education, electives), but also to contribute to the integration of a student’s entire developmental experience while at Ithaca College. The goal is for all Ithaca College graduates to be: integrative thinkers, critical and analytical problem solvers, and reflective learners.
The ICC’s goal is to produce graduates who can:
- address a topic, issue, problem area, or human challenge using a combination of concepts, theories, and/or methods from multiple perspectives or fields of study,
- apply concepts, theories, methods, or skills to analyze new questions or complex problems, and
- engage in and communicate self-reflection about their learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum, their chosen major discipline, and their overall Ithaca College experience
Why Does Integrative Learning Matter?
Over the course of a working career, most people change positions or organizations and some even change careers completely. To succeed in multiple, changing environments, students must develop the intellectual flexibility and adaptability to incorporate varied sources of information into their decision-making and understanding of the world. Raising the Bar (2010) , a national survey of employers, identified the need for college graduates to have both depth of understanding in a major field and a broad range of skills and knowledge to succeed in the workplace of the present and the future. The same survey includes exploration of large challenges such as sustainability and human rights as essential for 21st century college graduates. Electronic portfolios are identified in another employer survey (How Should Colleges Assess and Improve Student Learning, 2008) as a tool that would provide employers with great confidence that prospective employees possess the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. In addition to employers, national professional organizations and accreditors such as the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities state the importance of integrative learning for student success in college and in their lives beyond college. So whether your future plans focus on immediate employment, graduate school, or simply making through college, integrative learning is an important part of your learning.
How should colleges assess and improve student learning: Employers’ views on the accountability challenge (2008). Available at www.aacu.org
Raising the bar: Employers’ views on college learning in the wake of the economic downturn (2010). Available at www.aacu.org