Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect

Introducing Integrative Learning

Welcome to the Integrative Learning Project's Public Report

Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect is a national project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Aimed at promoting integrative learning in undergraduate education, this three-year project worked with ten campuses to develop and assess advanced models and strategies to foster students' abilities to integrate their learning over time. This report, with an overview by Carnegie and AAC&U staff and accounts from each of the participating campuses (see menu on the left), aims to make the project's work available to other campuses interested in helping students pursue their learning in more intentional, connected ways.

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What is Integrative Learning?

Fostering students' abilities to integrate learning--over time, across courses, and between academic, personal, and community life--is one of the most important goals and challenges of higher education. The undergraduate experience is often a fragmented landscape of general education, concentration, electives, co-curricular activities, and for many students "the real world" beyond campus. An emphasis on integrative learning can help undergraduates find ways to put the pieces together and develop habits of mind that will prepare them to make informed judgments in the conduct of personal, professional, and civic life.

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play Lee Shulman on integrity and integrative learning (video, 3:09)
Carnegie Foundation President Lee Shulman discusses the relationship between integrity and integrative learning. (From the ILP Summer Institute, July 2004.)

About this Report


The Integrative Learning Project's public report is comprised of eleven Web-based "chapters." They include this portal written by project staff at the Carnegie Foundation and AAC&U, and ten others written by the participating campus teams. While working from a set of common understandings about the report, each team of authors is responsible for the content and style of its own chapter.

To cite the report as a whole, please use the following information:

"Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect." Public Report of the Integrative Learning Project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Edited by Mary Taylor Huber, Cheryl Brown, Pat Hutchings, Richard Gale, Ross Miller, and Molly Breen. Stanford, CA, January 2007.

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Fostering Integrative Learning

Integrative learning does not just happen, although it may come more easily for some students than for others. Whether one is talking about making connections within a major, between fields, between curriculum and co-curriculum, or between academic knowledge and practice, integrative learning requires work. Of course, students must play the most important role in making this happen, but their success depends in large part on commitment and creativity from professors, staff, and administration. Four brief essays explore ways in which colleges and universities can foster integrative learning through curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and faculty development, using examples from campuses participating in the Integrative Learning Project.

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Essays on Fostering Integrative Learning

pdf Curriculum Essay
Fostering Integrative Learning through the Curriculum
by Mary Taylor Huber

pdf Pedagogy Essay
Fostering Integrative Learning through Pedagogy
by Richard Gale

pdf Assessment Essay
Fostering Integrative Learning through Assessment
by Ross Miller

pdf Faculty Development Essay
Fostering Integrative Learning through Faculty Development
by Pat Hutchings

Leading Campus Change

Individual faculty members can do much to strengthen integrative learning through decisions about course design, pedagogy and assignments. But individual efforts, by themselves, cannot create and sustain the opportunities students need to develop as integrative thinkers over the full arc of their college careers. For this to happen, collaborative efforts at the campus, program, and departmental levels are needed both to institute new practices where necessary, and to ensure that programs already in place reinforce and build on one another. The experience of campuses participating in the ILP suggests that leaders of campus initiatives to strengthen integrative learning should do their best to: 1) make integrative learning a campus-wide concern; 2) design initiatives strategically; 3) support faculty creatively; 4) make a commitment to knowledge-building; 5) recognize that institutionalization is a long-term process; and 6) build networks beyond campus for collaboration and exchange.

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Carol Schneider
play Carol Schneider on the importance of integrative learning (video, 5:49)
AAC&U President Carol Schneider discusses what is at stake in the future of higher education and the importance of integrative learning. (From the ILP Summer Institute, July 2006.)

Participating Institutions

Associate's Colleges
College of San Mateo
La Guardia Community College

Baccalaureate Colleges
Carleton College
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
University of Charleston

Master's Colleges & Universities
Philadelphia University
Salve Regina University

State University of New York College at Oswego

Doctorate-granting Universities
Michigan State University
Portland State University