USD IdEA program announces 2002 kickoff

USD IdEA program announces 2002 kickoff The University of South Dakota has announced the kickoff of the Interdisciplinary Education and Action (IdEA) Program in conjunction with its pre-registration for the spring 2002 semester.

IdEA is the new institutional graduation requirement for students that pairs interdisciplinary study with a service component.

Dr. Karen Olmstead, director of Honors and Undergraduate Studies, said the program was developed as a result of two years of intensive planning by the university's Institutional Goals and Institutional Graduation Requirements Task Forces. The new graduation requirements were adopted by the University Senate in November 1999 and approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents.

IdEA will teach students to think critically and analyze complex problems that are broader than just what they have learned as part of their major's study.

"If you think of anything you work on in real life, it's rarely in the context of a single discipline," said Olmstead. "Even in clinical medicine, you're going to have people skills, you're going to have to understand how money works, how politics works in terms of healthcare. Employers are saying we need people who can write and orally communicate and think outside of their discipline."

The IdEA Program includes the completion of nine credit hours of thematic study in students' last three years on campus. Each student will follow an interdisciplinary theme and, as part of their theme work, will contribute to the community by service, research, or an artistic endeavor.

The interdisciplinary study is guided by six themes. Every student, starting with those who entered in the fall of 2000, will complete one of the themes. During the spring semester, some coordinators will be offering their inaugural foundation courses. Students are currently in the process of enrolling in their themes in anticipation of registration.

The 2002 themes and coordinators are:

American Indian World Views (Margaret Quintal); Arts and Identity: Developing Cultural Competency (Dr. John Day); The Ecology of Human Development (Dr. Harry Freeman); Global Health (Dr. Barbara Goodman and Dr. Gerald Yutrzenka); Living in a Quality Environment (Dr. Robert Reinke, Dr. Steve Feimer, Dr. Karen Olmstead); The Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Missouri River (Dr. Bruce Barton and Dr. Brian Molyneaux).

"Building on a tradition of strong academic majors, the IdEA Program will add further value to a USD degree," President James W. Abbott noted, "by helping us do a still better job of preparing our students to be leaders both in their professions and in their communities."

The IdEA Program offices in Old Main on the USD campus. In addition to Dr. Olmstead, the staff includes Assistant Director Sarah Wittmuss and Senior Secretary Glenda Ofstehage.

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