First-Year Integration

An introduction to the integrative nature of learning

As a starting point to their careers at USD, students are introduced to the integrative nature of learning through courses in the Learning Communities (LC) program. Living Learning Communities (LLC) and Transfer Learning Communities (TLC) are parallel programs that allow students to be able to satisfy the Core requirement for first-year integration. Students are expected to recognize that people bring different perspectives to scholarly inquiry, discuss how real-world problem solving is inherently integrated and describe the value of multiple perspectives to scholarly inquiry and/or problem solving.

Integration through Learning Communities

LLC themes: Advocate, Collaborate, Cultivate, Illuminate (Honors), Innovate | TLC theme: Engage.

LLC themes: Advocate, Collaborate, Cultivate, Illuminate (Honors), Innovate | TLC theme: Engage.

Learn to Recognize and Articulate

Emphasis is placed on how to recognize broad connections between classes and articulate how different disciplines approach problem-solving related to their LC theme.

Two major academic events are designed to help students achieve initial benchmarks of integration. The first event allows students to practice integration and takes the form of either an Open Classroom or an Interdisciplinary Faculty Exchange. At the second event, the Integration Showcase, students then demonstrate their achievements in integrative learning.

Practicing Integration

Throughout the semester Learning Community faculty provide class examples connecting their course to their LC theme (e.g., how do Natural Disasters connect to Advocate/Social Justice?). In addition, students will experience an academic event dedicated to practicing integration from a different perspective than their current class. After attending this event students will be asked to self-reflect on how their own understanding might be enhanced by thinking about a big picture question from more than one perspective. Students receive feedback on their reflection assignment so that they can make improvements in their understanding of integrative learning. There are two types of models for this first integrative academic event.

What is an Open Classroom?

Students attend an Open Classroom where they are exposed to a second discipline from the same LC theme. A professor from a different class in their LC theme will present a topic or case study from their own discipline highlighting how they approach issues within the LC theme. Students practice recognizing and articulating these connections and contexts.

Dr. Beth O'Shea teaches EOSC 110 - Introduction to Geosciences in the Advocate theme, looking at issue from a perspective of social justice.  Watch Dr. O'Shea's open classroom presentation below entitled, "ROCKS: The foundation for immigration, a reason for your IQ and other really obvious connections."

Get more details on Open Classrooms

What is an Interdisciplinary Faculty Exchange?

Two professors present a mini team-taught lecture, or one professor provides a guest lecture, giving perspective through the lens of their discipline on a common topic within the same LC theme, highlighting the integrative nature of learning and allowing students to practice integration.

Students: All students complete the same reflective assignment
Practicing First-Year Integration Assignment
Feedback Rubric for Practicing First-Year Integration Assignment


Faculty:
Access Assignment Guidelines for Practicing First-Year Integration and Tally Form

Demonstrating Integration

Integration Showcase 

After a full semester practicing, recognizing and articulating integration, students to continue to look through the lens of the same LC theme while focusing on  multiple disciplines.

You now have two courses or disciplines by which to connect to your LC theme and are prompted to demonstrate these connections through an assignment presented at the end of the first year LC experience at the Integration Showcase.