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A Successful Experiment In Curriculum Integration: The Integrated Science & Technology Department At James Madison University

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

International Collaborative Efforts

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.126.1 - 8.126.9



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Kander

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2260

A Successful Experiment in Curriculum Integration: The Integrated Science and Technology Department at James Madison University Dr. Ronald G. Kander, Professor and Department Head Integrated Science & Technology Department James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia


In 1988, the Virginia General Assembly created the "Commission on the University of the 21st Century", which challenged each institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth to provide leadership in bringing about needed educational reform. In response to this challenge, James Madison University proposed an innovative new major in 1990 entitled "Integrated Science and Technology" (ISAT) that would embrace these reforms. The program focus was on using more effective pedagogical techniques, employing the latest instructional technology to enhance classroom learning, and integrating the curriculum to place emphasis on learning through applications. The first freshman class entered this new program in the fall of 1993.

ISAT integrates the study of science, mathematics, and technology in the context of societal and business concerns to uniquely qualify graduates to play a central role in creative scientific and technological problem solving. ISAT graduates are able to creatively solve scientific and technological problems in a real-world context with an appreciation for economic, social, political, and legal constraints. They communicate effectively and work productively in teams with individuals from a variety of disciplines.

ISAT is specifically designed to engage students in studying the sciences and technology, to lead students through examples of the practice of science, and to help them learn underlying methods and principles. Scientific theory is thus combined with hands-on experience designed to motivate and stimulate interest as well as impart learning. This is accomplished by the development of interdisciplinary, issue-based courses that address critical technology sectors of today's economy. These sectors include biotechnology, energy, environment, engineering manufacturing, information/knowledge management, telecommunications, and health systems.

ISAT has grown from an enrollment of 62 students in its first freshman class (1993), to graduating over 200 seniors in 2002. A listing of selected milestone events in the evolution of the ISAT program is shown in Table I. As can be seen from this table, ISAT has, by all measures, demonstrated a successful implementation of the original program vision.1, 2

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society of Engineering Education

Kander, R. (2003, June), A Successful Experiment In Curriculum Integration: The Integrated Science & Technology Department At James Madison University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12330

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