Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect

July 2006 ILP Snapshot

Institutional Information

Michigan State University was founded in 1855 as the nation's first land-grant university. MSU is located in East Lansing on a 5,192 acre campus. Nearly 45,000 students are enrolled in MSU's graduate and undergraduate degrees, from more than 125 countries. Undergraduates select from nearly 150 majors in 14 degree-granting colleges. From the cross-fertilization of corn in the 1870's to the top-selling anti-cancer drug, Cisplatin, MSU's research has improved the lives of people around the world. MSU has the largest study abroad program of any single-campus university in the nation. MSU is a major public university with global reach, attracting scholars who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

MSU Homepage

Other Activities

The MSU Study Abroad Curriculum Integration Project seeks to closely integrate study abroad options into the undergraduate experiences and curricula for all students in all majors. The Project is currently focused on expanding ways in which credits earned on a study abroad experience can be used to meet university, college, major, and graduation requirements and developing study abroad options that enhance the value of degrees.


Kathleen Geissler, Associate Professor in English, and Associate Director of the Center for Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities

June Youatt, Professor and Senior Associate Provost

Julie Friend, Former Curriculum Integration Project Director with the Office of Study Abroad at Michigan State University

Kelly Funk, Director of Academic Assessment

For more information, contact Curriculum Integration Project Director Inge Steglitz at


A few important references MSU has used are:

Internationalizing the Campus: A User's Guide By Madeleine F. Green and Christa Olson

Principles and Criteria for Integrative Studies

MSU's Liberal General Education

Integrative Learning Project

Michigan State University's Integrative Learning Project is a marriage of two "points of pride" in MSU's undergraduate education: the general education integrative studies requirement, and nationally acclaimed student abroad programs. Although the general education courses have for over a decade emphasized the development of competencies which promote integrative learning, the courses themselves have not been broadly integrative in content. This project sought to promote the development of new, integrative general education courses which would be taught in an international setting. The product would be courses that promoted both integrative learning and cultural competencies outcomes

A Request for Proposals invited faculty to submit integrative studies, study-abroad program development proposals. The programs were to draw from multiple disciplines, deal with general education-appropriate content, use instructional strategies appropriate to promote integration, and utilize the international context in ways that promote cultural as well as content outcomes. The result is three new study abroad programs that will allow students to have an integrative learning experience while meeting some of their general education requirements abroad. These programs will be launched over a three year period. The first program is currently in development and is scheduled for Summer 2007.

These new programs will serve as companion to some new integrative studies thematic "bands" which use 4 courses (2 science, one humanities and one social science) to build learning around an integrative theme. The first band organized around the Environment launches fall, 2006. The second planned band will be organized around Health Issues, to be introduced in fall, 2007.

These programs will help to meet the integrative liberal learning outcomes for undergraduate education recently endorsed by MSU's Academic Council. "The Working Group to Improve Undergraduate Education" recommended the outcomes as part of a summary report which endorsed the continuation of the integrative studies approach to general education, and stronger integration across general education of writing, quantitative literacy, science, social science and the humanities. Further evidence (like the formation of a new residential integrative arts and humanities college) demonstrates that Michigan State University is embracing integrative approaches to teaching and learning.

International Learning Outcomes

Request for Program Development Proposals

Descriptions of the Three New Study Abroad Programs