George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

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New Century College




Administration

John O'Connor, Dean
Karen Oates, Associate Dean
Adina Elfant, Academic Adviser, B.A.IN., B.S.IN.
Elizabeth Gunn, Academic Adviser, B.A.IN., B.S.IN.
Donna R. Bafundo, B.I.S./B.A.I.S. Degree Coordinator
Miriam Raskin, B.S.W. Degree Coordinator
Johnson Center, Room 213


Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies (B.A.IN.)
Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies (B.S.IN.)
Bachelor of Individualized Study (B.I.S.)
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.I.S.)
Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.W.)


Faculty

Brown, Davis, Eby, Gunn, John, Muir, Oates, O'Connor, Petty, Powell, Raskin, Robinson, Rome, Slaght, Wood, Zambrana



Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies/Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies

New Century College (NCC) offers the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Sciences in Integrative Studies. The college's curriculum is based upon intensive and interdisciplinary learning communities, which co-operate with the existing disciplines. The result is an integrated program of study that emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, and self-reflection. In the first year, students take one highly focused, interdisciplinary 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 New Century curriculum offers various learning communities that feature activity-based learning and faculty-student research that addresses fundamental questions. Students complete their degree programs with a major in a traditional discipline or with an interdisciplinary specialization they develop with faculty guidance. Pre-professional majors can develop a program of study best suited to their particular goals.


Admission Requirements

A student who meets George Mason University's general admissions requirements may apply for the degree program after an information session with a counselor. Admission to NCC is based on the student's academic objectives and the likelihood of the student's benefiting from the curriculum of the college. Each student admitted to New Century College is assigned an adviser from the faculty.


Degree Requirements

Students must complete an equivalent of 120 semester credit hours of course work with at least 24 credit hours in Division II, Learning Communities, and 12 credit hours of experiential learning (see Curriculum Requirements). Students may elect a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science with a traditional disciplinary specialization or with a specialization designed with New Century faculty. In either case, the student must present a final, cumulative portfolio that is presented publicly at a College Senior Exposition and then evaluated by the student's adviser and officials of the college.


Curriculum Requirements

The New Century curriculum is divided into three parts. Division I is a first year of common courses and integrated learning. Division II is a collection of learning communities from which students choose. Division III is the student's specialization. Division II and Division III are not sequential: a student may join learning communities or take traditional courses in the university any time after Division I.

George Mason University's general education requirements of 30 hours will be met in the New Century Divisions I and II. The eight hours of humanities, the eight hours of social science and the eight hours of natural and mathematical sciences will be met through completion of New Century's Division I. The requirement of six hours of English composition will be met through completion of Division I and 24 credits of Division II.

Division I, The First Year. Division I is a four-unit common curriculum. Units 1 through 4 are each six weeks long and are separated by two-week interims or a winter intersession. The units meet Monday through Thursday and may include lectures, but they will emphasize collaborative assignments, problem-centered projects, and self-paced learning.

Unit 1 studies broad interdisciplinary issues in education; Unit 2 studies the natural world; Unit 3 studies the socially constructed world; and Unit 4 studies the relationship between the individual and society. The interims and the intersession are built into the curriculum to allow co-curricular activities, such as community service learning, or to allow students to complete their work at their own pace. The winter intersession also allows for special intensive courses and provides a period for study abroad, individualized projects, or experiential learning outside the college.

Division II, Learning Communities. Division II is constructed of learning communities, each of which combines subjects usually taught in several separate courses into a single course of study. Learning communities offer the equivalent of between 6 and 15 credits of undergraduate work and replace the often fragmented classroom encounters many students experience in a series of unconnected course offerings. In learning communities faculty and students study topics in disciplinary integrated contexts and explore various ways of understanding the 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. Some learning communities will be scheduled to make attendance easier for part-time students, and more will become available as we learn to reconfigure the credit-for-contact model. Team-teaching, collaborative projects, emphasis on writing and critical thinking, opportunity for independent study, and experiential learning integrated with the community are all important parts of learning communities. Twenty-four credits in Learning Communities are required for graduation.

Division III, A Specialization. The New Century specialization is the equivalent of a major in a traditional degree program. Students can complete a traditional disciplinary specialization within the New Century curriculum or they can create, with faculty advice, a unique program of study to fit their particular interests and needs. The specialization will combine learning communities, independent study, seminars, mentored research, experiential learning, and traditional courses. Thus, Division III specialization may include some Division II learning communities. No matter what the specialization, New Century students must present a portfolio of their work as part of a culminating College Senior Exposition.

Experiential Learning Requirement. All New Century students are required to participate in experiential learning equivalent to at least 12 credit hours of course work. The faculty expect that most of this requirement will be met as part of the requirements in learning communities. Students may also meet this requirement through internships, study abroad, and experiential learning courses. This requirement reflects the college's commitment to providing educational experiences that will prepare its graduates for the workplace and the demands of active and responsible citizenship. The faculty's goal is twofold: both to engage the workplace as a site of instruction and expose students to the variety of skills needed to succeed there and to combine work experience with academic study in the hope that each will enrich the other. A total of up to 24 credit hours of course work (or its equivalent) may be applied toward the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

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 during the experiential learning intership is provided by the university. Each student is responsible for his/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.


Transfer Students

The competencies identified for successful completion of Division I are essential degree requirements; transfer students should demonstrate these proficiencies within their first term in this curriculum. For more information, contact the college at (703) 993-1436.


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