CSUMB is sunsetting the Integrated Studies Special Major

By Ashley Mae Orcutt
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As of May 26, 2017 CSUMB stopped taking incoming ISSM (Integrated Studies Special Major) students, and the major is now being sunset after Spring 2018. ISSM was for students who wanted to combine multiple disciplines, or majors, into one learning plan that would be crafted just for them. It was an individualized course load where students worked closely with the ISSM coordinator and other advisors to create a major proposal that would combine multiple fields.

“It has been very rewarding working with the Integrated Studies students as the Program Coordinator. The students graduating this year are an amazing group. I have truly enjoyed learning about their areas of study and seeing them grow in the program,” said Dr. Sam Robinson, ISSM Coordinator. “I also am very appreciative of the work of the other faculty who have served as discipline-based advisors for these students,” said Robinson.

Dean Ilene Feinman of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science (CAHSS) said that the major is being sunset due to it being evident that students are not choosing this major over the past few years.

When asked about the history of the major, Feinman responded, “Although all the majors that were founding to the university were conceived as interdisciplinary in scope, there was a perceived need for a major that crossed multiple degree programs, so that a student might combine, say, Business and Human Communication (Journalism), or Visual and Public Art with Environmental Science.”

“It was a lovely opportunity for the student who saw themselves as self-directed and able to articulate the connections between these multiple areas of studies for the vision of a career path,” Feinman also stated.

“Being able to enroll in ISSM meant I could take the courses necessary to apply for a Masters Program in Art Therapy without having to double major in art and psychology. It has been very fulfilling to work with my Professor Mendoza of the VPA department, Professor Burchett of the Psychology department and my ISSM Advisor, Professor Robinson. Under their direction, I have had an educational experience that is truly meaningful to me,” Andrea Jones, a senior ISSM student commented.

“This summer, I will intern at a camp for underprivileged children, where I will continue co-creating art. I am also applying for graduate school and art residencies around the world,” Jones continues.

Jones’ favorite part of her experience as an ISSM student is her Capstone project. She facilitated mask making workshops for recovering addicts and alcoholics. Her Capstone project is now an art exhibit with these and other masks.

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