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History and Conceptual Framework


Keene State College is a founding member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), and its mission is to ensure the goals of a liberal education are realized.

Beginning in 2003, Keene State College embarked on another journey to revise its general education curriculum. On April 19, 2006, the new Integrative Studies Program (ISP) was approved by the College Senate. In 2007 the ISP was implemented. The program has three sets of outcomes (intellectual skills, perspectives and interdisciplinary outcomes and integrative outcomes).

Key to the design of the program was its conceptual framework based on AAC&U’s Greater Expectations Report (2002) in which the essential learning outcomes for a liberal education were identified. Since then AAC&U has recognized Keene State College as a Campus Action Network Partner and an exemplar program in LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise).

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework for the Integrative Studies Program is grounded in the AAC&U Greater Expectations report. This report emphasizes a call for more attention to purposeful, intentional and transparent teaching and learning. It also incorporates the concept of Integrative Learning for a liberal education/liberal arts education. The integrative teaching and learning process approaches teaching and learning in intentionally connected ways.

Integrative learning is a process by which students:

  • connect knowledge and skills from multiple sources and experiences,
  • apply knowledge and skills in varied settings,
  • utilize diverse points of view, and
  • understand issues contextually.

Students are able to:

  • see connections in seemingly disparate information
  • adapt skills learned in one situation to problems encountered in another
  • demonstrate a breadth of outlook and an awareness of complex interdependencies
  • judge/decide (synthesize)
  • take into account different dimensions of a problem, seeing it from different perspectives, making conceptual links
  • connect skills and knowledge from multiple sources and experiences
  • utilize diverse and contradictory points of view
  • understand contextual frames

Knowledge in both individual and multiple disciplines is the foundation upon which integrative learning builds. Integrative learning often occurs as learners put theory into practice, "making meaning" as they apply abstract concepts in practical settings.

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Integrative Studies Program

Mark C. Long

"We see that students are developing stronger skills in writing, are more challenged and more confident in their ability to meet new challenges, and are getting a better sense of what is happening in the world around them."

Dr. Gordon Leversee
A Liberal Arts Education:
One Father’s Experience