Grappling with complex, enduring, global problems of our time calls for more insight than a single discipline can provide. Moreover, Notre Dame’s Catholic tradition encourages us to consider a broad range of perspectives when engaging any issue. For example, understanding a scientific or technological advancement is insufficient without attention to its social and human impact and the moral and ethical questions surrounding its application. Integrative learning is an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum, enabling synthesis and transfer of learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.1 Integration courses will provide such integrative learning and enable a student to undertake necessary multifaceted engagement with such challenges.
Students in an integration course will explore approaches to a complex question, problem, or issue that provides the theme for the course. Integration courses aim to promote habits of the mind such as critical thinking, intellectual synthesis, and comprehensive inquiry.
Students completing a course that meets the core integration requirement will be able to fulfill the following goals:
- Articulate aspects of different bodies of knowledge or contrasting perspectives around a complex question, problem, or issue; and
- Synthesize knowledge and/or methods from varied disciplines or from experiential learning2; and
- When appropriate, apply integrated knowledge gained from different perspectives and/or disciplinary lenses.
Integration Course Criteria
Integration courses will meet the following criteria:
- Must synthesize knowledge and/or methods from varied disciplines or from experiential learning through a sustained dialogue that promotes reflection on these different perspectives. As such, the course must go beyond a superficial survey of the topic from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
- Must deeply examine an issue, topic, or question that is too rich or complex to be adequately addressed by a single field of study.
- Must have significant contributions from faculty of at least two different disciplines or substantially different fields of study. The course may be team-taught by two or more such faculty; or it may be taught by a single faculty member, so long as there is significant engagement throughout the course with the guest faculty or visitors from different disciplines or fields of study.
Must clearly be designed to promote the learning goals identified above.
Ideally, integration courses:
- Should continuously integrate interdisciplinary perspectives throughout the semester.
- Should be accessible to a broad segment of the student population.
1 Integrative and Applied Learning VALUE Rubric, AACU.
2 An experiential framework for learning contains four core elements: 1) experience; 2) reflection; 3) links to theory; and 4) application.
3 All instructors who will be counted toward the team-taught requirement for an integration course must have a formal appointment as faculty at Notre Dame. Although at least one instructor must be a regular faculty member, the second instructor may be a non-regular faculty member whose appointment falls under Article IV, Section 1, Subsection (b) of the Academic Articles (e.g., visiting, adjunct, guest, affiliated, and retired faculty).