News Briefs
November 2, 2016

Castleton University awarded $85,000 grant for integrative learning project

CASTLETON—This summer Castleton University was awarded $85,000 for year one of a three-year, $275,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to enhance integrative learning on campus, according to an Oct. 19 news release. Labeled the Integrative Learning Project, the endeavor aims to amplify Castleton’s approach to relationship-based learning by creating a signature program that will meld existing curricular and co-curricular elements to create a transformative experience for all students at Castleton.
“Students often experience their undergraduate studies as a series of requirements: courses in their major, courses in general education, internships and other co-curricular learning. The traditional structure of colleges and universities almost encourages this fractured experience. We want to cultivate the principles and practices of integrative learning here at Castleton so that students learn to make meaningful connections among these seemingly disparate components of their education,” said Dean of Special Academic Programs Ingrid Johnston-Robledo. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure all our students have the opportunities and tools they need to be active, agents of their own cohesive baccalaureate experience, one that prepares them for a wide range of careers, lifelong learning, and engaged citizenship.”
During the 2015-16 academic year, a team of faculty and administrators, known as the integrative learning team, led a conversation on how to make a Castleton education more integrative. The group worked with constituents from across campus, including first-year seminar faculty, department chairs, and members of the president’s cabinet to develop campus-wide learning goals. The final goals, which were endorsed by the entire faculty assembly in May, describe fundamental aspirations for all students earning a bachelor’s degree.
“Integrative learning helps us to think about some larger systems that are a part of the educational experience in addition to the academic program or discipline of a course,” said Castleton English Professor Chris Boettcher, an active member of the integrative learning team. “It reimagines a curriculum of college as involving more than just what goes on when we learn new knowledge about a subject.”
With the support of grant funds, the project will allow Castleton to intensify its current efforts, mainly through guiding students to create and follow a pathway from their first year to graduation that will help them reflect on their learning and make more meaningful connections among their major, general education coursework, and their co-curricular learning. Potential grant projects include exploring ways to infuse integrative learning into the curriculum, providing resources to support faculty as they implement integrative learning principles, enhancing assessment of student learning, and expanding tools for advising and planning.

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