Advanced Integration

A reflection on the the interconnectedness of varied approaches

At the end of USD's academic experience, students and faculty connect ideas across disciplines, synthesize disparate areas of knowledge, and pose the "big questions." Core Curriculum components connect and build on one another and integrative learning is an approach that creates an opportunity for students to make connections among ideas and experiences to synthesize knowledge.

How are students prepared for Advanced Integration?

In first-year integration students practice recognizing and articulating connections between multiple disciplines, perspectives, and/or approaches to learning. They are also prompted to reflect on how these connections can enhance one’s understanding of practical issues and problems. There are two major academic events are designed to help students achieve initial benchmarks of integration: Open Classrooms allow students to practice integration and Integration Showcases allows then to demonstrate there understanding of integration. For more information, visit the First-Year Integration page.

Learn to Synthesize and Apply

Focus is placed on drawing meaningful connections between diverse perspectives to enhance the overall body of knowledge and applying these perspectives in a form appropriate to the students' particular academic discipline.

Integrative Core Project

The Integrative Core Project is the culminating experience for students nearing the completion of their core curriculum. Courses meeting Advanced Integration through this Core Project may be courses within the major or outside of the major. Students are asked to build on the integrative learning they experienced during First-Year Integration to further apply and synthesize integrative concepts at this advanced level. The Integrative Core Project prompts students to make connections between disciplines, apply knowledge in a variety of contexts, or make connections between curricular and co-curricular activities in order to synthesize Core competencies.

Class Formats

The Advanced Integration requirement can be met through a variety of possible courses and experiences; the most ideal of which are team-taught or linked/cluster courses. It is important to note that Advanced Integration is a flag that can be attached to a course regardless of the unit load for that course. See descriptions below for viable advanced integration options:

Interdisciplinary upper-division courses, typically taught by faculty from two different departments and including one or more synthetic, applied integrative projects (the “Core Project”) evaluated by both instructors.

Example of Team-Taught course

INST 350 - Epicuriosity
Learning Outcomes for Advanced Integration

"Epicuriosity" combines literary and cultural theory with communication theories to explore how habits and rituals surrounding food define cultural and communal identity. Together these lenses attend to how food culture shapes and is shaped by critical events such as colonialism, migration, globalization, and the ways that we communicate with one another. The Final Integration Core Project has a written and oral component. Through poster presentations, students will teach each other about a food-related need within a community of their choice. In their individual final papers, students will integrate both disciplinary perspectives on the role of food to answer a significant question about cultural identity in that community.

Simultaneous courses representing different disciplines linked by an instructor-coordinated theme or activity and consisting of one or more synthetic integrative projects (the "Core Project") applied across the courses. Paired/cluster courses can be structured in various ways to meet the advanced integration learning outcomes.

Examples of Linked courses

HIST 348 - American in Paris, through Revolution, War and Peace
PHIL 334 - Studies in Ethics: The Ethics of Revolution

Learning Outcomes for Advanced Integration

HIST 348 - American in Paris, through Revolution, War and Peace

1. Describe the origins, course, and end of the French Revolution and be able to synthesize differing historical and philosophical interpretations of why the French Revolution started and how it ended.
2. Apply your knowledge of how the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution affected the French Revolution by analyzing French writers and events through a historical and philosophical lens.
3. Explain the long-lasting impact of the idea of “revolution” in French history, using philosophers’ writings on the subject and how Americans reacted to it.
4. Synthesize primary and secondary sources from both disciplines introduced in the class and apply your analysis of them to make observations in your self-reflection paper.
5. Be able to apply your interdisciplinary knowledge of the historical and philosophical factors leading to the French Revolution to modern French history, i.e. how the revolution is memorialized and how the Left/Right divide has played out in French history and philosophy, in your self-reflection paper.

PHIL 334 - Studies in Ethics: The Ethics of Revolution

1. Describe the claim that the work of J.J. Rousseau was a critical historical influence on the thinking of Jacobins, and the reign of terror.  Be able to explain the specific ideas from Rousseau that were co-opted by some of the Jacobins and evaluate whether their use of his ideas represented his actual work.
2. Apply knowledge of critiques of the French Revolution (Burke) to the historical events.  Be able to explain and identify historical events that lead to the critiques.
3. Be able to compare and contrast philosophical claims about the nature of revolution to the historical context, what cultural values did each side draw on?
4. Engage in a critical evaluations of the philosophical positions concerning when revolutions are warranted.
5. Be able to apply your interdisciplinary knowledge of the historical and philosophical factors leading to the French Revolution to modern French history, i.e. how the revolution is memorialized and how the Left/Right divide has played out in French history and philosophy, in your self-reflection paper.

Examples of Cluster Courses

LBST 495 - Senior Seminar in Liberal Studies
SOCI 494 - Sociology Capstone
THRS 450W - Themes in Theological Studies

Learning Outcomes for Advanced Integration

Students in these courses will all meet together in at least two class sessions for facilitated discussion under the broad theme of social justice. The broad question is: How does an interdisciplinary and integrative framework help assess and rearticulate the meaning(s) os social justice? This will be approached from a sociology, education, theology, religious studies, among other disciplines represented in the capstones.

Each student the participating capstones courses writes an intellectual autobiography paper.  In this paper, the student reflects upon his/her intellectual journey so far and about his/her perspective noting that no one enters from a "perspective free location."

The second assignment builds upon the first.  The three courses will come together as a group for shared conversation about an image. This pedagogy uses an object or image to stimulate a collective conversation between groups.

The third assignment requires students to read a shared text that will then be discussed and analyzed from different disciplinary perspectives at another group meeting.

Students will demonstrate advanced integration learning outcomes through their final integration papers, which could either be a stand-alone assignment or embedded into the capstone project, depending on the class.

A community engagement course may satisfy the advanced integration requirement if it includes at least one assignment (the Core Project) in which students must integrate the community engagement experience in a way that meets the learning outcomes for advanced integration. The assignment(s) must be evaluated by both the instructor and the community partner. Community engagement projects meeting the advanced integration requirement should provide opportunities three for significant acquisition and integration of experiential knowledge and must be supervised and evaluated by the community partner(s) in conjunction with a faculty advisor.

Example of Community Engagement course

THEA 475C - Theatre and Community

Learning Outcomes for Advanced Integration

Students in this course will gain skills in the use and creation of theatre for consciousness raising and alliance building with specific communities and their concerns. The Integrative Core Project is the culminating event, which consists of an evening of staged theatrical one-acts inspired from the partnership that will be evaluated for cultural competency by both USD and the community partner.

Single-instructor and discipline-specific capstone courses may, at times, also meet the advanced integration criteria. In order to achieve the learning outcomes associated with advanced integration, Core Projects in these courses should entail the substantial synthesis and application of multidisciplinary knowledge. These projects should thus be endorsed by and evaluated in conjunction with one or more external faculty consultants who possess general expertise in the secondary discipline being integrated into the students’ integrative assignment(s).

Example of Single-Instructor course


LBST 495 - Senior Seminar in Liberal Studies

Learning Outcomes for Advanced Integration

The Liberal Studies capstone asks students to complete an Integrative Core Project that is comprised of an Intellectual Autobiography and Final Capstone Paper. Through these assignments, students will reflect on the ways in which the integration of their core courses, their Liberal Studies courses, and their experiences outside of the physical classroom (school placements, tutoring/internships, study abroad, etc.) have informed their understanding of the educational issues that matter to them most.