University of Massachusetts Amherst • Office of Academic Planning and Assessment for the General Education Task Force (GETF) • June 2009
However, the expectation is that departments will modify/add/subtract options over time. Proposals will be considered as the initial offerings and modifications may occur as you develop more experience with offering the IEs and get student feedback.
The primary instruction for the IE should be conveyed by an instructor appropriate for upper division courses in the major (e.g. tenure-system faculty member or long-term senior lecturer). Graduate Students may not have primary responsibility for instruction (no TO’s), but may play a role in supporting primary instruction.
- Criteria 1 (Reflect and Integrate): Students must be provided with a structured opportunity to reflect on their experiences in Gen Eds and their Major. For ideas of how to accomplish this, please visit the IE Proposal Examples website. In your proposal, include the specific activities and assignments that students will engage in to fulfill this criteria.
- Criteria 2 (Practice Gen Ed Learning Objectives): While it is likely that you will not have to add anything to the students' experience to ensure they are practicing the Gen Ed learning objectives, your proposal must still provide examples of which learning objectives students will be engaged in and how. Adding a presentation component to the experience can also help to meet this criterion by adding oral communication to the list of learning objectives students will practice at an advanced level.
- Criteria 3 (Shared learning experience): Students must have a “shared learning experience” with their peers. This could be accomplished by having students meet in groups to discuss their experiences, give presentations to each other, engage in peer editing, etc. In your proposal include a description of the structure of the group time, and the specific activities and assignments that students will be engaged in to fulfill this criterion. In cases such as study abroad, this could be a pre/post experience for the students.
Find out if your college’s dean’s office is developing possibilities for these options that your students could participate in.
7. How do I open up my IE option to other departments?
In order for students to take IE options outside of their department, both the department offering the IE option and the department allowing students to use the option need to complete a Specific Option Proposal. This means that you must indicate that students from other departments are allowed to take the IE option in the corresponding Specific Option Proposal (see question 11 on the IE Specific Option proposal form), and, when possible, state specifically what departments this offering pertains to. In addition, the collaborating department must submit an IE Specific Option Proposal that indicates this intention (they will only need to complete questions 1, 2, 3 and 12 on the IE Specific Option Proposal form).
8. How do I allow my students to take IE options in other departments?
In order for students to take IE options outside of their department, both the department offering the IE option and the department allowing students to use the option need to complete a Specific Option Proposal. This means that if you want your students to be allowed to take an IE option that is offered through another department you must submit an IE Specific Option Proposal that indicates this intention (you will only need to complete questions 1, 2, 3 and 12 on the IE Specific Option Proposal form). In addition the collaborating department needs to indicate that students from your department are allowed to take the IE option in the corresponding Specific Option Proposal (see question 11 on the IE Specific Option proposal form).
9. How many IE options does my department need?
Your department must provide enough IE options to meet the needs of your student enrollments. Departments are encouraged to look at options outside of their department if they are concerned about meeting the needs of their students. Collaborations can be made between departments, and we expect there to be College-wide and University-wide offerings eventually.
10. Can the IE count for credit in the Major as well as Gen Ed credit?
Yes. As many as 4 courses from a student's major department can be applied to GenEd requirements: Junior Year Writing, Integrative Experience, one course applied to another GenEd requirement, and one course applied to a Diversity requirement. There is no limit on GenEd or Diversity courses that can be counted toward major requirements.
11. Can a department create a combined IE and JYW option?
Yes, however, it must be a 6-credit experience.
12. What course number should my IE option have?
The registrar’s office has reserved the numbers 394 and 494 for the IE. However, if you are using an existing course that has a permanent number you can choose to maintain that course number. If the course is an experimental number or a departmental seminar number you will be asked to either change it to a 394 or 494 number, or to submit it through AMC to get a permanent course number.
13. How many credits does the IE have to be?
The IE must be a minimum of 3 credits.
14. If a student can complete all other graduation requirements except the Integrative Experience for graduation in February, May or September 2012 can s/he still graduate?
Students who can complete all other graduation requirements except the Integrative Experience for graduation in February, May or September 2012 may appeal for a waiver of that requirement. The student should write an appeal letter explaining his or her situation and expected graduation date, and submit the letter to his or her academic dean.
The dean in turn should write a cover letter and submit the case to the General Education Variance Committee. The Committee will approve the waiver contingent on the student’s satisfactory completion of all other degree requirements except the Integrative Experience for a degree date no later than September 2012. If the student does not complete all other degree requirements by September 2012, no waiver will be granted and the student will be responsible for taking an Integrative Experience option.
For more information see Advising Guidelines for Integrative Experience Waivers.
15. Who has to take IE courses and when do they have to take them?
The requirement is in place for students who entered in fall 2010. This is a complicated question because of transfers, etc. The best and official resources are on the pages we hope all advisors will use as they talk to students:
Fulfilling the requirements: http://www.umass.edu/gened/forStudents/fulfillingRequirements.html
About waivers: http://www.umass.edu/gened/teachingAdvising/integrativeExperience/IE_WaiverAdvisingGuidelines.html
16. What is the timeline for offering IE courses?
IE options need to be available to students that entered in Fall 2010 by the time they are ready to graduate (see Advising Guidelines for Integrative Experience Waivers for exceptions). Many students who entered in Fall 2010 will graduate in Spring 2014. If departments’ IEs serve juniors, they need to be ready to go for fall 2012/spring 2013; if they focus on Seniors, they need to be ready by fall 2013. Departments will know best about their own timeline, and what scheduling structures are needed to make sure all their majors are able to graduate in a timely fashion with the IE. However, please note that some transfer students and students that can graduate early may need to have an IE option available sooner.
17. Who is responsible for the IE program once department courses are approved?
Each department is to identify an IE coordinator for the department (this is done on the IE Departmental Plan form in the online system)– the Gen Ed Council is responsible for periodic review and approval of all IE options.
18. Will the courses that are approved for Fall 2012 be available in time to be listed on SPIRE Spring '13?
The General Education Council and the Registrar are aware of the tight timeline that many departments will have for their IE , and this is why proposals need to be submitted as soon as possible and no later than January 11th, 2012.
19. What happens if a department misses the Jan 11 deadline? Is this just for Fall 2012 courses or for all IE courses in 2012-13?
Departments should submit their proposals for their Overall Departmental Plan and Specific Option(s), as they currently know them, by the deadline – even if they don’t intend to offer them in Fall 2012. We need a full sense of what departments’ intentions are. There will be opportunities to augment/alter Overall Departmental Plans and Specific Options after they have been proposed.
20. Do student who double major have to take their IE in their primary major?
Double majors are identified on student records as consisting of a primary and a secondary major. As with other General Education requirements, the Integrative Experience is only linked to the student's primary major and should in most cases be satisfied in that department. SPIRE has no link between a primary major and a secondary major. The General Education Council is currently considering a policy for exceptions that will be posted on this Website once it has been approved. The only exceptions likely to be routinely allowed will be for students who complete an Integrative Experience in their primary major and then change to a different major prior to graduation.