- Areas of Study
- About A&S
- Faculty & Staff
- Cultural Initiatives
- Research Initiatives
- General Information
- Theme, Courses, and Book List Fall 2016
- Common Questions
- Apply to the Learning Community
- Courses and Curriculum
- 2 year and 4 year plan
- How to declare the major
- An ISPer wonders: Should I declare an ISP/IDS major?
Integrated Studies Program Learning Community
What is a Learning Community?
In a learning community, students are enrolled in common courses where they get to know each other well and work closely with their professors. In the Integrated Studies Learning Community, the classes are student-centered and discussion based. Small teams of students (20) engage with faculty members to study important world issues from different perspectives. Classes feature a great deal of interactive learning. Participation in learning communities is proven to increase student success and engagement in college.
The Integrated Studies Learning Community:
An exceptional option for students, the Integrated Studies Learning Community (ISP) offers 11 credits that include 4 courses in the fall, and in the spring, 7 credits that consists of 2 classes; all courses help students fulfill Essential Studies requirements necessary for all University undergraduate degrees. The fall semester usually includes credit from at least three of the four Essential Studies categories: Communication, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Math/Science/Technology. The spring semester includes credit from at least two of those categories.
Work and study in the Learning Community are organized around a central theme, and carried out in a variety of small group settings in which discussion among and between students is encouraged. Close contact between students and faculty members is a strong feature of this learning community; students spend the entire semester together studying the same materials and they form close relationships with each other as well as getting to know several faculty very well.
The ISP Learning Community emphasizes work on the University's Essential Studies goals: communication (oral and written), thinking and reasoning, information literacy, and diversity. Integrated Studies works well with University majors at UND that want students with strong abilities in communication and critical thinking; it is also particularly good for deciding students and is recommended for students interested in Education, Communication, Interdisciplinary Studies, or pre-law studies.
Enrollment in the Learning Community is limited to maintain a low student/faculty ratio: permission of the department is required to register. Students interested in more information on the ISP Learning Community can call 701-777-3622; write to 221 Centennial Dr Stop 7117, Grand Forks, ND 58202-7117; or e-mail the administrative assistant, Yvonne Holter. The office is located in 253 O'Kelly Hall on the University campus. Visitors are welcome to observe class meetings; please call to arrange a convenient time.
Students interested in reserving a place in the Integrated Studies Learning Community for an upcoming semester can apply using the
online reservation form.
Spaces are limited in this popular program. Apply by the April 1 priority deadline!
Questions? Call our office at 701.777.3622.
A Peek at Life in Integrated Studies
The main differences between ISP classes and traditional classes are in the format of the class meetings and in the way the subject matter is connected together rather than studied as unrelated areas separated by disciplinary boundary lines.
Most class meetings are conducted in a small group discussion format. Since students spend a great deal of time together, they get to know each other well enough to feel comfortable discussing a wide range of topics.
To help show the connections between ISP courses and life beyond college, students are encouraged to think about readings, films, research, and activities in the context of the semester's theme, which varies from semester to semester.
Rather than have separate lecture periods for each course in which a student is receiving credit, the Program uses a combination of several small discussion group meetings and one or two large group meetings each week.
- Seminars are the heart of the program: Small group meetings of 15-20 students and one faculty member, seminars engage students in discussion of an assigned reading. During discussion, faculty encourage students to explore their ideas and questions related to the reading and connect the reading to other material that has been studied during the semester as well as to what is happening in the world.
- Cooperative Learning Units (CLUs) are the research foundation of the program: CLU meetings also involve 15-20 students and one faculty member, but the discussion is related to research topics that students have gathered information on and prepared to share with the group. CLUs are usually used to provide additional information or context to other material being studied. For example, if we are reading a book about civil rights, students may have a CLU which asks them to bring in information on various aspects of the civil rights movement in the U.S.
- Writing and giving oral presentations are a vital component: A variety of different writing activities occur during a semester, formal and informal, but all are designed to help students think about semester material in another way and to build their abilities to communicate effectively. Oral presentations and speeches, both individual and group, are utilized throughout the semester to help students build strong presentation skills.
- Science activities are incorporated throughout the semester: Science is integrated with the other material of the semester just as social science and humanities are, but science often also lends itself to hands-on activities in addition to seminar discussions or CLU projects. In ISP, science is studied from a broad perspective: students think about questions and issues such as energy, environmental issues, genetics, illness and aging, planetary motion, and evolution, to name just a few.
- Program Meetings are large group meetings: During program meetings, there may be a guest speaker, a film, a presentation by a group of students, a mini-lecture, a writing or presentation workshop, a panel discussion, or any of a number of activities which provide additional information to the whole group.
- Field Trips: ISP takes a field trip each semester. Each semester usually includes a full day trip as well as various other activities such as attending cultural events or attending a presentation related to the semester curriculum.
A Little History
Two Humanities professors, Dr. Patricia Sanborn and Dr. Jerry Lawrence, received a significant grant from the UND Office of Instructional Development and then a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the mid-1980s to develop a new first year coordinated studies general education learning community at UND: the Integrated Studies Program. ISP was established as a program offered through the Humanities Program at UND. Over the 30 years that the program has been offered, many students have enjoyed and benefited from the close knit community which develops when students spend several hours a week together in the same classes, study the same material, and discuss their ideas with each other. In addition, faculty from many departments have participated over the years including English, Chemistry, Geology, Anthropology, Sociology, Biology, Nursing, Physics, Humanities, Philosophy, Music, Art, Economics, Languages, Theatre Arts, Indian Studies, and History. While they are teaching in Integrated Studies, the faculty generally participate in all aspects of the program, becoming learners as well as educators.
The program has been nationally recognized and received awards for its excellence in providing a high impact, quality educational experience. The faculty team continues to focus on providing the best experience possible, and constantly reevaluates whether curriculum is meeting the highest standards and the needs of the students. The curriculum is regularly revised to meet those needs and to reflect the changes in both national and global societal issues.