Oct 24, 2021  
2007-2009 Undergraduate Catalog 
2007-2009 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Interdisciplinary Education and Action Program (IdEA)

Terry Robertson, Director
Sarah Wittmuss, Associate Director
104B Old Main
677-6208 (Director)
677-3139 (Associate Director)
677-6337 (Program Assistant/Office)

The IdEA Program is a component of the University’s institutional graduation requirements. It emphasizes problem solving in an interdisciplinary context and active, engaged learning. IdEA was developed to reflect the University’s liberal arts mission and to respond to the dynamic, multidisciplinary world in which we live. Employers are increasingly seeking employees who can “think outside their box.” While a disciplinary major is at the center of a university education, training within biology, economics, or political science may not be enough to enable a student to function effectively in our complex, interdependent society. No matter what path a student chooses, they will need to read carefully, think critically, analyze arguments, and discuss complicated issues that transcend the traditional academic disciplines. Students will be required to complete one interdisciplinary IdEA theme, addressing large societal issues and working together with people who have diverse academic backgrounds and personal viewpoints. As educated leaders, students will have many opportunities to demonstrate their responsibility through contribution to their community, whether it be through theme-related service-learning, civic engagement, research, or creative venues.

Students will enroll in their themes during their sophomore year and can complete IdEA during the remainder of their academic programs. The themes may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Arts and Identity: Developing Cultural Competency
  2. The Ecology of Human Development
  3. Global Health
  4. Living a Life of Leadership
  5. Peace & Conflict
  6. Sustainability

In each theme, students will complete a foundation course, which presents a broad overview of theme topics, and a capstone experience, which is a small group, discussion-format class where students will bring together their theme experiences and their disciplinary major to work on the “big issues” in today’s world. While enrolled in a theme, students will also complete as one of their six credits an “Action” activity, which allows students to put their classroom work into real-world learning and to contribute to the community around them. Action can include service-learning, civic engagement, research, creative work, or international experiences and study. Students will also be engaged in their theme topics by involvement with speakers and events on campus and beyond.