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New Century College
As an integral part of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), New Century College (NCC) offers students a small college interdisciplinary education within the context of a large state university. Using a cohesive interdisciplinary faculty and borrowing faculty members from other disciplines, NCC provides a learning environment that integrates interdisciplinary knowledge with workplace and lifelong learning skills. In keeping with the goals of CAS, NCC has a strong commitment to enhancing technology skills, improving student writing, and providing challenging opportunities for students.
NCC meets this challenge by having students interact closely with faculty; engage in critical thinking, problem solving, creative activity, and leadership development; and participate in experiential education in the form of internships, co-ops, service learning, or study abroad. NCC educates students to develop original ideas, engage in active and reflective learning, master competency areas, and conduct independent inquiry with high ethical standards. Both the structure and curriculum of NCC respond to the needs of civic and corporate communities and provide instruction for a rapidly changing society.
There are four degree programs housed in NCC: Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies, Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies, Bachelor of Individualized Study, and Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Janette K. Muir, Associate Dean
Lena Hall, Director, Adult Learning and Outreach
Associate Professors: Gabel, Gunn, Muir (Associate Dean), O'Connor
Assistant Professors: Eby, Gring-Pemble, L. Smith, T. Wood
Visiting Assistant Professors: Furey, Nord, Wingfield
Visiting Instructors: Montecino, Williams
Adjunct Faculty: Belts, Breneman, Dieteman, Dougherty, Dunne, Eves, Fontana, Gordon,Hemm, Higgins, Johnson, Kim, McKalip, Meyers, Misencik, Patterson, Razzano, Romsdahl, Rubenstein, Schoeny, Scott, Smith, Sridharan, Weyrich, Windmueller, Young,Zizos
Center for Field Studies
Julia Nord, Director
Greg Justice, Program Manager
Center for Service and Leadership
Lynn Leavitt, Director of Service and Leadership
Heather Hare, Assistant Director
The curriculum is based upon intensive, interdisciplinary learning communities, coordinated with traditional academic programs. The result is an integrated program of study that emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, and self-reflection. The program provides the option to create an interdisciplinary, integrated concentration. Although there are many possibilities, the following are some examples of the programs of study that have been created: pre-professional (medicine, law, education), family studies, arts administration, multimedia design, conflict transformation studies, liberal studies, nonprofit management, and leadership studies.
In the first year, students take four highly focused, interdisciplinary courses (eight credits), one course at a time. They "learn to learn" how to make distinctions, to appreciate different perspectives, and to find connections in what they learn. After the first year, the curriculum offers various learning communities that feature experiential learning and faculty-student research that address fundamental questions. Students complete their degree programs with an interdisciplinary concentration. Pre-professional majors follow a program of study best suited to their particular goals. The program requires mastery of essential competencies (communication, valuing, global perspectives, problem solving, group interaction, effective citizenship, aesthetic response, critical thinking, and information technology) assessed through freshman and graduation portfolios.
A student who meets George Mason University's general admission requirements may enroll in the integrative studies program. Admission to the program is based on the student's academic objectives and the likelihood that the student will benefit from the curriculum. Each student works with an advisor from the college's advising staff.
Students must complete an equivalent of 120 credits of course work with at least 24 credits in learning communities, 12 credits of experiential learning (see Curriculum Requirements), and 32 credits in general education. A student's concentration usually consists of at least 30 credits, which may draw from learning communities, experiential learning, independent study, and traditional university courses. Students must present a final, cumulative portfolio and a College Senior Exposition.
The integrative studies curriculum has three major components. Division I is the first year of common courses, experiences, and integrated learning. Thereafter, students pursue their academic and career goals through learning communities (Division II) and courses for their concentration (Division III). A student may join learning communities or take courses in other academic units in the university any time after the first year experience.
General education requirements are met in Division I and II. Division I fulfills most general education requirements. Students may also test out of some requirements. The six-credit English composition requirement is met through completion of Division I and II with an overall 2.000 average. Students majoring in integrative studies fulfill the university writing-intensive requirement by completing their concentration. Most 300-level courses and above include at least one writing assignment that requires revision.
Division I, the first year experience. Division I is a four-unit common curriculum. Units 1 through 4 are each six or seven weeks long and are separated by two-week interims or a winter intersession. The units meet Monday through Thursday and may include lectures and exams, but emphasize seminar discussions, collaborative assignments, problem-centered projects, and self-paced learning.
Unit 1 emphasizes composition and communication, computer applications, and analytical reasoning; Unit 2 studies the natural world and develops computational skills; Unit 3 studies the socially constructed world through the interdisciplinary study of western civilization; and Unit 4 studies the relationship between the individual and society. The intersessions are built into the curriculum to allow co-curricular activities, such as community service learning, leadership training, or specialized workshop courses, or to allow students to complete their work at their own pace. The winter intersession also allows for intensive short courses, study abroad, individualized projects, research, or experiential learning outside the college.
Division II, learning communities. Division II is constructed of learning communities, which combine subjects usually taught in separate courses into a single course of study. Learning communities offer the equivalent of between 3 and 9 credits of undergraduate work and replace the often fragmented classroom experience many students encounter in a series of unconnected course offerings. In interdisciplinary learning communities, faculty and students explore various ways to understand a topic. Learning communities also offer a greater sense of identity with an academic community, especially in the nonresidential college environment typical of a regional state university. Several learning communities are scheduled to make attendance easier for part-time students. Team teaching; collaborative projects; emphasis on writing and critical thinking; opportunity for independent study; and integrative, experiential learning are all important components of learning communities. Many learning communities have experiential learning attached, either as a part of the class or as an option for students to take.A minimum of24 credits in learning communities is required for graduation.
Division III, a concentration. The concentration is the equivalent of a major in a traditional degree program. Students can complete an interdisciplinary concentration already established in the integrative studies curriculum or, in some cases, create with faculty a unique program of study to fit their particular interests and needs. The concentration comprises traditional courses, learning communities, independent study, seminars, guided research, and experiential learning. Students must present a portfolio of their work as part of a culminating College Senior Exposition. This is done through NCLC 491, Senior Capstone, which students are required to take two semesters prior to their graduation.
Experiential learning requirement. All students are required to participate in at least 12 credits of experiential learning. A portion of the credits can be earned in various learning communities. Students may also meet this requirement through internships, study abroad, and experiential learning courses. This requirement reflects the college's commitment to provide educational experiences that will prepare its graduates for the workplace and the demands of active and responsible citizenship. The faculty's goal is twofold: to engage the workplace as a site of instruction and expose students to the variety of skills needed to succeed, and to combine work experience with academic study so that each will enrich the other. A maximum of 24 credits of experiential learning (or its equivalent) may be applied toward the B.A. or B.S. degree.
Experiential learning may include course field trips and off-campus learning experiences. Students may be responsible for their own transportation, including bus, subway, and carpooling. Student liability insurance for the experiential learning internship is provided by the university. Each student is responsible for his or her own health care, including emergency care. New Century College assumes no financial responsibility for the health care of students. An accident and health insurance plan is available through the university.
NCC accepts students from other four-year institutions or community colleges, as well as from other academic units within George Mason University, into the integrative studies program after admission to the university. NCC's academic advisors work with students to best use transfer credits and provide a plan for timely completion of the bachelor's degree. All transfer students are required to meet with an academic advisor as soon as possible. For more information, contact an academic advisor at (703) 993-1436.
NCC and the College of Visual and Performing Arts coordinate the interdisciplinary minor in Multimedia. See the "Interdisciplinary Minors" section of this chapter for a description of the minor.
Borkman, Sacco, Toepler
NCC and the Department of Public and International Affairs coordinate the minor in nonprofit studies.
The interdisciplinary minor in nonprofit studies provides the student with the basic skills and knowledge of nonprofit organization resource development, activities coordination, governance relations, and services that enable one to effectively perform the duties of an entry-level nonprofit organization administrator. Upon completion of the minor, the student will know the public-serving responsibilities, basic fund raising techniques, resource management tools, nonprofit financial accounting skills, and performance requirements of a private, nonprofit, charitable organization professional.
Students must complete 16 credit hours, distributed as follows.
Required: 3 courses (12 credits)
Elective: 1 course (3 credits), chosen from
Portfolio: 1 course (1 credit)
Each of the required courses is writing intensive with a requirement of at least 3,500 words in logs, essays, and analyses. Writing assignments are aggregated with a cover document at the end of the program into a portfolio that documents the student's experience in studying the nonprofit world. A one-credit course is dedicated to the development of the portfolio.
Experiential learning: 135 hours
The candidate for the minor must complete 135 contact hours in research on, and service to, nonprofit organizations in the areas of operational procedures, financial accounting, and resource development. These hours are divided into three 45 contact hour experiential credit units that are included in the three required courses. The student signs an agreement with a nonprofit organization that describes the learning objectives, the tasks to be undertaken by the student, the outcomes of the experience, and some of the specific benefits that will accrue from the work.
The certificate in leadership studies provides a curriculum and learning environment that includes theory, application, and reflection. This 24-credit certificate can be completed while pursuing an undergraduate degree, or after graduation. All students are required to complete a core of 9 credits and then choose from approved elective courses for the remaining credits. An internship is also required.
The certificate in leadership studies provides students with a broad understanding of leadership in contemporary times. To understand current issues, students in the courses examine historical perspectives and theories of leadership. Students gain an understanding of leadership concepts and behaviors, civic responsibility, creativity, communication, and change. In addition, students have the opportunity to practice and enhance their skills.
For more information, please contact the Center for Service and Leadership at (703) 993-2900, or New Century College at (703) 993-1436.
The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies is an honors degree offering high-achieving undergraduate students an alternative to traditional baccalaureate programs. With the guidance of a faculty committee, students develop a customized interdisciplinary program of study not available through traditional majors, double majors, or major and minor combinations. The program provides the option to create an interdisciplinary area of study that spans two or more academic disciplines. The resulting program of study cuts across traditional academic programs or collegiate units. Although the possibilities are endless, the following are some examples of programs of study that have been created: human resource and management, cultural ecology, environmental management and public policy, science writing, child and family welfare, international and political economics, media communication, philosophical and historical studies of science, art therapy, public policy studies, multimedia technology, political marketing, geographic information systems, and Renaissance studies.
Applicants to the program must be rising juniors who have accumulated at least 45 credits with a minimum GPA of 3.3. The GPA is determined by review of all George Mason University and previous academic work. At least 15 of the 45 credits must have been completed at George Mason. Freshmen and sophomores, and those in the process of fulfilling the minimum eligibility requirements, may be declared as pre-interdisciplinary studies.
Students who meet eligibility requirements may complete an application to the program after an information/advising session with a B.A.I.S. program advisor. Appointments for these sessions may be made by calling (703) 993-1436. Students may be recommended by faculty or administrators or may nominate themselves.
Acceptance is based on assessment of the interdisciplinary nature of the program of study, the availability of courses relevant to the proposed program of study, the availability of faculty advisors, the student's GPA, and the likelihood that the student will benefit from the proposed program of study. Students should be able to show a high degree of academic achievement in the various disciplines that they incorporate into the interdisciplinary program of study.
Acceptance into the program is provisional until students have a faculty committee of two or three members, and an approved educational contract on file. Although B.A.I.S. staff members can assist, it is the student's responsibility to organize the committee. The committee consists of professors, at least one from the senior ranks, in areas of study contributing to the student's field of study. Wherever possibleRobinson Professors, outstanding scholars who are dedicated to undergraduate teaching, and whose teaching and scholarship concern broad and fundamental intellectual issuesare members of the student's committee. By a mutual decision of the student and committee, one member is chair of the committee, taking primary responsibility for contract development and changes. The B.A.I.S. program director must approve educational contracts and changes in contracts.
Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits of course work. At least 30 credits must be completed at George Mason. A minimum of 45 credits must be in upper-level courses, including at least 12 credits of George Mason course work in the field of study.
In addition to fulfilling all university general education requirements for a B.A., students must complete at least 36 credits in their interdisciplinary area of study, including a minimum of 24 credits at the 300 and 400 level. Courses may be applied to the degree only if passed with minimum grade of 2.0. Students who are pursuing the B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies as a second degree must present 36 George Mason University credits beyond those required by the first degree.
As part of the BAIS core concentration, the student completes four courses: BAIS 300 (3 credit hours), BAIS 390 (3 credit hours), BAIS 490 (3 credit hours) and BAIS 491 (1 credit hour). BAIS 490 and BAIS 491 are taken when no more than two courses remain in the core concentration. A student must include 3 credit hours of BAIS 489 Directed Readings as part of his/her core concentration. The senior thesis is evaluated by the faculty committee and usually is completed during the final semester of study (see BAIS Program guidelines). BAIS 490 fulfills the university's requirement that all students successfully complete at least one course designated as "writing intensive" at the 300 level or above.
Once admitted to the program, students become Interdisciplinary Scholars, which entitles them to priority registration and 24-hour access to the University Scholars Center study lounge and computer resource lab.
Since 1975, the Bachelor of Individualized Study (B.I.S.) degree program has offered adult students an alternative to traditional baccalaureate degrees. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, B.I.S. students develop an individualized, interdisciplinary program of study that meets their academic needs and interests. The B.I.S. program accepts liberal transfer of traditional and nontraditional credit from other institutions. Also, recognizing that college-level learning may be acquired through varied professional, service, and personal experiences, the B.I.S. degree provides mechanisms to translate experiential learning into academic credit.
Adult students enter this program for many different reasons. Some are preparing for graduate study and professional programs. Others seek a gateway for professional advancement or career transition and validation. Still others want to complete their undergraduate degree for personal fulfillment. The mission of the B.I.S. degree is to provide a distinctive educational opportunity that enables adult students to integrate their previous experiences into their George Mason coursework to achieve their educational goals.
Applicants to the B.I.S. program must be admitted to George Mason University, have completed high school at least seven years prior to admission, and have accumulated at least 30 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.000. At least 15 of the 30 credits required for B.I.S. program acceptance must have been earned through conventional classroom instruction.
B.I.S. program information is available through the New Century College office, (703) 993-1436, or online at www.ncc.gmu.edu. Anyone interested in the program must attend a B.I.S. information session, generally scheduled twice a month. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the New Century College office.
The B.I.S. application process is free, but an application is considered only after the applicant has gained admission to George Mason. The B.I.S. application is available through the New Century College office or online at www.ncc.gmu.edu.
Acceptance into the B.I.S. program is based upon eligibility requirements (see above) and an assessment of responses to essay questions posed on the B.I.S. application. Initial acceptance into the program is provisional. Once students obtain a faculty advisor and receive all necessary approvals for their educational contract, they become full B.I.S. degree-seeking students (see Individualized Core Concentration).
It is university policy that students who are inactive for two years or more must reapply, or be readmitted (as appropriate) before continuing their studies. If readmission to the university is necessary, students must also reapply to the B.I.S. program.
B.I.S. students must complete a minimum of 120 credits of coursework. At least 45 credits must be in upper-level courses (numbered at the 300 and 400 level or above), and at least 30 credits of resident credits from George Mason University must be completed. All B.I.S. students also must complete basic general education requirements, either through appropriate transfer equivalencies or George Mason course enrollment.
Working with the support of B.I.S. staff and a faculty advisor, B.I.S. students develop a concentration to meet their academic needs and interests. B.I.S. students may incorporate into their concentrations previously earned college credits, non-traditional credit, and courses from George Mason.
The core concentration is 34 to 46 credits. At least 18 credits must be upper-division work (300, 400, and/or up to 6 credits at the 500 or 600 level), 12 or which must be completed at George Mason. No more than 6 credits of D grades may be included in the concentration. Courses in the concentration may not be counted toward general education requirements or minor requirements.
As part of the B.I.S. concentration, students complete four B.I.S. courses in order: BIS 300 Understanding Multidisciplinary Studies (3 credits), BIS 390 The Research Process (3 credits), BIS 490 Bachelor of Individualized Study Project (3 credits), and BIS 491 Senior Project Presentation (1 credit; taken concurrently with BIS 490). A student is encouraged to include BIS 489 Directed Readings in the core concentration.
BIS 490 and BIS 491 are taken when no more than six credits remain in the core concentration. The type of final project conducted in BIS 490 varies according to the student's program. It may be an investigative project, a participatory project, or a creative project, and it must be appropriate to the student's concentration regardless of the type of project. BIS 490 requires a significant written component; BIS 490 is designated writing intensive (see below). A grade of 2.000 or better in BIS 490 is required to graduate with a B.I.S. degree. A committee consisting of the student's faculty advisor and at least one other faculty member or qualified professional evaluate the project.
The initial draft of a B.I.S. core concentration is assembled as a proposal and developed into a formal educational contract. Proposals are typically developed as a part of BIS 300 with the feedback and support of B.I.S. staff. The B.I.S. director reviews and approves the proposal. The faculty advisor is responsible for reviewing the proposal with the student, providing appropriate feedback and suggestions, and helping the student develop the proposal into the formal educational contract. The contract must be approved by the faculty advisor and the B.I.S. director, at which time the student's status is changed from provisional to degree-seeking.
All B.I.S. students are encouraged to obtain a faculty advisor and submit an educational contract as early as possible. Degree-seeking status is required for enrollment in certain courses. Though earlier development of a contract is advised, the final deadline for submitting a B.I.S. contract is the last day to add a class in the term prior to the student's anticipated graduation date. For example, a student planning to graduate in May must submit a contract to the B.I.S. office by the course add deadline for fall. The same deadline applied for contract amendments, which are required whenever changes to the contract are necessary.
A sample of previous individualized B.I.S. core concentrations:
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. B.I.S. students fulfill this requirement by successfully completing BIS 490.
The B.I.S. program allows students to receive college credit for learning acquired through a variety of nontraditional methods. The maximum allowable credits are indicated in each of the following categories: