Integrative learning supports students as they build connections between their curricular and co-curricular skills, experiences, and knowledge and leverage those connections to address complex, real-world challenges (AAC&U, 2009).
At the University of Denver, students might encounter Integrative Learning through dedicated programming, such as the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning, First-Year Seminar, and Living and Learning Communities. Additionally, students often encounter Integrative Learning at the classroom level as faculty implement high-impact practices like collaborative projects, reflective prompts, ePortfolio assignments, community engaged learning, research practices, and experiential learning.
High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are a collection of strategies for teaching and learning that are proven to increase retention, completion, and satisfaction rates of students. When done well, HIPs provide intentional and integrative approaches for learning that encourage transfer of skills and the creation of meaningful connections between experiences (Watson, Kuh, Rhodes, Penny Light, & Chen, 2016). For definitions of each High-Impact Practice, see this list by AAC&U.
Many departments at DU have a capstone assignment that requires students to integrate and apply what they’ve learned throughout the major. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit of artwork.
DU’s focus on the “public good” provides instructors with opportunities to align course concepts to local, national, and global perspectives by challenging students to engage with diverse opinions, experiences, and value systems.
Below are High-Impact Practices that are supported by specific departments or offices across campus. While the OTL is happy to support HIP implementation, program-specific questions should be directed to the applicable unit.
All first-year students at DU participate in a First-Year Seminar (FSEM) where faculty teach to their passion by designing a course around a unique theme while still incorporating critical components to support students as they adjust to college.
SERVICE LEARNING, COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING
The Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) at DU provides extensive support and training for instructors that are interested in community-engaged learning.
COMMON INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES
DU fosters shared intellectual experiences through FSEM, 4D, the common curriculum, and departmental initiatives such as a cohort model curriculum. , and departmental initiatives such as a cohort model curriculum.
Living and Learning Communities are one way that DU facilitates a learning community model. In addition, housing and residence life fosters community development across the institution.
Internships are often tied to a student’s major and provide opportunities to put their knowledge into practice in a career setting. Many programs at DU require internships as a capstone experience prior to graduation.
The Office of Undergraduate Research supports students and faculty in identifying, funding, and completing meaningful research with an emphasis on mutually beneficial experiences for students and faculty. DU also houses many research centers that provide experiences for undergraduate and graduate students based on their current skillset and future goals.