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Program Areas

Every Keene State College student is required to complete a total of 40 ISP credits, including a minimum of two courses (eight credits) in residence at the 300 or 400 level. Academic advisors work with students to be sure that all requirements are met.

  1. Foundations
  2. Perspectives
  3. Interdisciplinary
  4. Intellectual Skills


Foundation courses lay the foundation for intellectual skills development and provide students the opportunity to work closely with faculty and tutors. Essential question to be addressed in the foundations courses: How do critical and creative thinking, researching, writing, and evaluating quantitative information inform scholarly endeavors?


The Perspectives Area of the ISP consists of courses in the Arts and Sciences (Arts, Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences). These courses frame most of the ISP experience as students complete eight courses in these areas. The arts and sciences are at the heart of what we mean by a liberal education – an education that prepares and empowers students to engage with complexity, diversity and change. Perspectives courses help students develop appreciation for and knowledge about the impact of the arts, literature, and sciences in our lives. Essential questions frame perspectives courses: How are the arts and humanities constructed and defined and how do they change, shape, provoke, and represent our perceptions and our world? What assumptions, methodologies and theoretical constructs define today’s sciences and how are they used to understand our world?

A primary objective of ISP Perspectives courses (IA/IH/IN/IS) is to make transparent to students the questions that disciplines ask and the methods they use to engage those questions. For this reason, each department/program is responsible for actualizing this Perspectives outcome in its ISP course offerings:

Students are able to demonstrate from a disciplinary perspective an understanding of questions and methods of inquiry within a selected discipline and some of the key explanatory concepts arising from these types of inquiry and to relate this understanding to questions both contemporary and enduring.


Developing Perspectives and Breadth of Knowledge - eight courses (32 credits)**

Arts and Humanities

Three courses from three different disciplines (12 Credits)

  • One course in the Humanities – IH (dept) 100-400
  • One course in the Fine and Performing – Arts IA (dept) 100-400
  • One additional course in the Arts or Humanities – IH (dept) or IA (dept) 100-400

Three courses from three different disciplines (12 Credits)

  • One course in the Natural Sciences – IN (dept) 100-400
  • One courses in the Social Sciences – IS (dept) 100-400
  • One additional IS/IN course – IN/IS (dept) 100-400

Note: Students may not take more than one course in a discipline in completing the Perspectives requirements.


One course with II prefix (4 credits)

  • One II prefix course

Note: Students may take more than one course in a discipline in completing the Interdisciplinary requirement.

Additional ISP

One additional ISP course (4 credits)

  • One IH/IA/IN/IS course in any discipline not used above or
  • One II prefix course in any discipline

Note: A minimum of two of the perspectives and interdisciplinary courses (8 credits) must be at the 300 or 400 level. Students may enroll in the upper-level courses once they have completed a minimum of 24 credits of lower-level (100 - 200 level) courses including the Foundations courses (ITW 101 and IQL 101). The upper-level requirement must be completed at Keene State College (see Appendix 7 in the ISP Manual for study abroad exception).


Courses taught in the Integrative Studies Program under the II-prefix provide students and faculty with opportunities to approach complex questions and discuss difficult subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective. II courses promote scholarly inquiry and investigate academic possibility. Whether the course is situated in an interdisciplinary field of study—such as Women’s & Gender Studies, Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Environmental Studies or American Studies—or offers an innovative approach to a traditional area of disciplinary study, its content and structure challenge students to rigorously examine how knowledge is produced and transmitted from multiple perspectives. In this way, II courses offered through Keene State College’s ISP program present interdisciplinarity as a constructive, collaborative mode of cultural production, which intersects with both theory and practice in the academic, artistic, and professional fields.

II courses are structured to pursue these ends through a set of stated outcomes that expect that students will be able to:

  • identify multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore complex questions;
  • synthesize connections between multiple disciplinary perspectives;
  • reflect upon and recognize the position (e.g. discipline, identity, experience) from which they interpret and construct knowledge;
  • analyze cultural assumptions and social values from multiple disciplinary perspectives;
  • collaborate on integrating insights from multiple disciplines.

While it is not possible (nor should it be necessary) for all II-courses to fulfill each of these outcomes, these outcomes serve as boundaries markers which designate the ISP’s “local” definition of interdisciplinarity.

Intellectual Skills

Intellectual Skills lay the foundation for both academic and professional success. In the ISP, faculty work with students to develop specific skills at a level commensurate with a baccalaureate degree. Skills are practiced extensively, across the program, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and expectations.

The ISP is focused on the intentional development of the following intellectual skills:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Critical Reading
  • Information Literacy
  • Critical Writing
  • Critical Dialogue

Detailed skills rubrics, carefully adapted for the program from AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics, provide definitions of each intellectual skill and a 5-point developmental scale of expectations for student achievement. Each rubric indicates the lower (100 and 200-level) and upper-level (300 and 400-level) expectations for achievement. Faculty are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the language and expectation levels of these rubrics, and to communicate these expectations to students throughout the semester. Faculty are encouraged to align their expectations of student capabilities with these rubrics, and to use these rubrics as templates for their own grading rubrics.

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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