* * * * * * *
The Integrated Science Curriculum was successfully launched with our inaugural class in the fall 2011 semester. A unique classroom environment used problem-based exercises in a teamed fashion to master interdisciplinary concepts. Physics, biology, mathematics, and chemistry were integrated to understand the fundamental principles in emerging technologies. The capstone event included a team presentation describing recent advances in interdisciplinary concepts ranging from gene delivery to solar energy. The interdisciplinary students with majors in biology, physics, mathematics, and chemistry seamlessly integrated diverse concepts to tackle complex questions that face society today. The Integrated Science Laboratory, which involved modules in cell biology, chemical kinetics, physics, statistics, and photosynthesis, exposed students to state-of-the-art instrumentation and diverse faculty from across the College of Science, resulting in a community of students who are dedicated to an interdisciplinary strategy for learning science.
As a part of the College of Science’s sustained initiative to foster interdisciplinary curriculum and emerging interdisciplinary degrees and programs, the Academy of Integrated Science recognizes faculty who have significantly contributed to the design, implementation, and teaching of courses in the integrated science curriculum and these emerging interdisciplinary degrees. The Academy provides a forum for this community of scientists who are dedicated to the interdisciplinary education of our future scientific leaders.
Modern science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature. College of Science students involved in the program will be introduced from day one to critical new ways of thinking about and conducting basic science. Learning the foundations of physical, mathematical and life sciences in an integrated, active-learning classroom will produce students that are better prepared not only for the traditional majors in the College of Science, but also new interdisciplinary majors that are currently under development (nanoscience, neuroscience, computational science, systems biology). In addition to meeting disciplinary learning outcomes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics and statistics, ISC scholars will develop skills in teamwork, problem solving, integration, and communication. The pilot of the ISC will be taught by a team of three faculty members per semester. Participating students will therefore enjoy an incredible 7:1 student:faculty ratio for this experience. Moreover, students will be learning with a group of peers who share their passion for and talent in science and math.
The Integrated Science Course will consist of a two-year, double-effort course sequence (6 hours lecture + 6 hours lab, 8 credits, per semester for 4 semesters = 32 credits total) that will cover the fundamentals of college-level chemistry, physics and biology, integrated with each other and with the mathematical sciences (calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, probability and statistics, numerical methods and programming skills). Students who finish the 32 credit sequence will be at least as well prepared for further study as students who take traditional courses in:
Principles of Biology (8 credits)
General Chemistry (8 credits)
Calculus-based Physics (8 credits)
Differential and Integral Calculus (8 credits)
Elementary Statistics (3 credits)
Introduction to Computer Science (3 credits)
However, the Integrated Science Curriculum is not just a repackaging of these courses. The ISC will expand the scope of traditional sciences to encourage students to apply knowledge and skills to important societal problems (food, energy, health, environment) and explore new approaches to common questions about nature and life. ISC students will be exposed to a variety of topics (e.g. organic chemistry and biochemistry, linear algebra, differential equations, numerical methods, stochastic processes) that are not usually covered in introductory courses, In addition, participants will explore the inter-relationships of the sciences in ways that extend beyond current disciplinary course structures. Teamwork, written and oral presentation, and problem-solving will be central to the pedagogy of this course. The laboratory experience will also be closely integrated with the lecture material, while data collection in the laboratory will incorporate statistical and computational methods of data analysis and interpretation. Computer skills and programs (PERL, Matlab, SAS, R) will be effectively applied to natural scientific settings.
ISC is not merely a repackaging of the traditional courses listed above. Nor is ISC intended to be a major. Rather it will be an alternative gateway to participating majors in the College of Science, designed for students who want to study scientific fundamentals in an integrated, active-learning environment atmosphere. Students who complete the ISC will still choose a major field of study and take the standard sophomore-level courses that are foundational to that major (e.g., Organic Chemistry; Genetics; Cell & Molecular Biology; Ecology; Multivariate Calculus).
The inaugural class of ISC scholars will be selected by an application and interview process. The application form can be downloaded below. Students will be selected on the basis of academic record (especially in Math and Science) and passions for science and/or math (as judged by the essay and letter of recommendation). Finalists will be interviewed. The following undergraduate majors have agreed to accept the ISC as a substitute for core courses in their program. Note that individual majors may require disciplinary-specific coursework to supplement the ISC: Biological Sciences Geosciences Mathematics Physics Statistics
Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2013:
Interested in shadowing an ISC student? Click link below to apply.
Gary Long, Ph.D.
College of Science
John Tyson, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor
Program Support Specialist for
New Undergraduate Programs