Academic Catalog

Integrative Core Curriculum

Susan Adams Delaney, Director and Associate Professor

Andrew Utterson, Coordinator of Ithaca Seminar and Associate Professor

Mission and Program Outcomes

The Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC) is Ithaca College’s liberal education program, which contributes, along with students’ curricular experiences in the major, elective offerings, and out-of-class experiences, to achieving the College’s expectation that Ithaca College graduates should become integrative thinkers, critical and analytical problem solvers, and reflective learners. To achieve these expectations, students completing the ICC will:

  1. Address a topic, issue, problem area, or human challenge using a combination of concepts, theories, and/or methods from multiple perspectives or fields of study;
  2. Apply concepts, theories, methods, or skills to analyze new questions or complex problems; and
  3. Engage in and communicate self-reflection about their learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum, their chosen major discipline, and their overall Ithaca College experience

The ICC is intentionally designed to be integrative. Students will be asked to reflect throughout the program on how the various courses in their ICC experience fit together with each other and how they connect with other learning experiences. To facilitate this integrative experience, students will begin an electronic learning portfolio in their Ithaca Seminar course and continue to develop the portfolio in each ICC course, culminating with the ICC capstone.

The ICC is comprised of: Themes and Perspectives sequence; Academic Writing, Diversity, Quantitative Literacy, and Writing Intensive courses; 12 hours of Complementary Liberal Arts coursework specific to each School or degree program; and an ICC capstone experience. Student achievement of ICC program outcomes will be documented and demonstrated through completion of an electronic learning portfolio (ePortfolio), required for graduation.

Requirements of the ICC

Ithaca Seminar4
Themes and Perspective Courses12
Creative Arts (CA)
Humanities (HM)
Natural Sciences (SC)
Social Sciences (SO)
Complementary Liberal Arts12
Additional Requirements12
Academic Writing I ( or ICSM 10800 or ICSM 11800)
Writing Intensive (WI)
Diversity (DV)
Quantitative Literacy (QL)
ICC Capstone (CP)0-6
ePortfolio completion
Total Credits40

Ithaca Seminar (4 credits)

The Ithaca College student’s introduction into the ICC begins in the first semester with an Ithaca Seminar. These courses are interdisciplinary seminars that address a variety of transition to college issues.  Upon completion of an Ithaca Seminar, students are able to:

  1. Develop and evaluate ideas and arguments; and
  2. Identify and articulate assumptions that underlie an idea, argument, or creative work.

Themes and Perspectives Sequence (12 credits)

The Themes and Perspectives model is the central component of the ICC. This sequence is based on the premise that complex and important issues are best approached through a variety of perspectives. A Theme in the Ithaca College Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC) is a topic, issue, problem area, or human challenge that invites interdisciplinary, critical, or analytical investigation through a focused set of inquiries (e.g., inquiry, imagination and innovation; power and justice). Students are required to complete a 12 credit Themes and Perspectives Sequence, including coursework in the creative arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Students may not apply courses within the Themes and Perspectives sequence to their primary major. At the completion of a Themes and Perspectives sequence, students are able to:

  1. Identify, formulate and/or evaluate significant questions for exploration within a Theme;
  2. Communicate and advocate for their positions or conclusions; and 
  3. Propose new ideas, positions, solutions, or techniques in response to significant questions within a Theme


To complete the Themes and Perspectives sequence, students complete a series of four courses addressing the same Theme from each of four Perspectives: Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Science. Some Themes and Perspectives courses may be designated with multiple perspectives; students will earn credit for completing both perspectives when completing such courses but must still complete a total of 12 credit hours within the Themes and Perspectives sequence. 

Courses designated from each of the perspectives below focus on general ways humans interact with the world and provide students with multiple approaches to the thematic questions. For each perspective, the first student outcome listed focuses on methods or processes used in the perspective, the second addresses how examining the world from this perspective contributes to the student’s own life or intellectual development, and the third concerns understanding how the perspective contributes to understanding broader social, cultural, and/or historical issues.

Creative Arts Perspective (CA) (3 credits from designated courses)

Courses taught from a creative arts perspective focus on the methods and materials used to create performances, literary texts, visual works, or built forms and the understanding of the aesthetic conventions and theoretical, social, historical, political, or economic contexts surrounding these works. Upon completion of a CA course, students are able to:

  1. Recognize and explain the forms, techniques, and processes used in at least one area of creative arts;
  2. Analyze, in themselves and others, how performances or creative works stimulate emotions, provoke thoughts, or guide actions and beliefs; and
  3. Articulate the role of the creative arts in the construction of historical and/or contemporary cultures.

Humanities Perspective (HM) (3 credits from designated courses)

Courses taught from a humanities perspective seek to understand the human experience through analysis, interpretation, and reflection, engaging students in the particulars of individual experiences, texts, or other artifacts. Upon completion of an HM course, students are able to:

  1. Understand and analyze human expression (such as language, texts, or images) through the lens of the humanities;
  2. Recognize and begin to appraise existing arguments and articulate arguments of their own; and
  3. Describe and interpret the values, beliefs, and behaviors of self and others in the context of historical and/or contemporary cultural institutions.

Natural Sciences Perspective (SC) (3 credits from designated courses)

Courses taught from a natural sciences perspective focus on scientific theories that explain experimentally verifiable physical or biological phenomena and the methodological processes used to conduct these observations as epitomized by scientific methods. Upon completion of an SC course, students are able to:

  1. Understand basic scientific principles and facts as well as the methods that natural scientists use to study the physical world;
  2. Recognize the impact of natural science on self and society; and
  3. Explain how humans interact with and understand the natural and physical world.

Social Sciences Perspective (SO) (3 credits from designated courses)

Courses taught from a social sciences perspective seek to understand how particular human experiences can be seen as general characteristics and patterns. The focus is on how social forces shape and determine human action. Courses in this perspective apply theoretical, analytical, and empirical tools in the study of individuals, groups, and institutions. Upon completion of an SO course, students are able to:

  1. Understand how social science methods are used to analyze, investigate, or predict human individual or group behavior;
  2. Articulate their own values, beliefs, and behaviors, and trace the possible forces that shape their values, beliefs, and behaviors; and
  3. Explain how diverse cultures and institutions help shape, and in turn are shaped by, the lives and decisions of their members.

Academic writing (3 credits)

The Academic Writing requirement is designed to help students develop as writers and is typically fulfilled by completion of WRTG 10600. Students who score 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Literature and Composition or English Language and Composition will receive credit for WRTG 10600 and will satisfy the Academic Writing requirement. Ithaca Seminars numbered ICSM 10800 and ICSM 11800 also fulfill this requirement. Upon completion of the Academic Writing requirement, students are able to:

  1. Situate themselves within a particular discourse community, use the affordances of a particular genre, and frame their writing according to the practices of relevant audiences, contexts, and purposes;
  2. Introduce and frame an academic conversation, develop an effective idea path, a line of reasoning that provides coherence to help the intended audience track the ideas, claims, evidence, and justifications throughout a text;
  3. Locate, evaluate, and contextualize primary and/or secondary research materials into their writing and analyze, synthesize, and engage fairly and accurately with source material and their own ideas.

Diversity (DV) (3 credits from designated courses)

Diversity goes beyond the mere acknowledgement of difference to address the systematic silencing of marginalized people as we work toward creating a more just world. Diversity encompasses multiple dimensions, including but not limited to race, ability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, geographic origin, class, sexual orientation and identities, gender, gender identities and expressions, and age, allowing us to learn about the world through these perspectives.

Courses with a diversity designation are designed with the understanding that diverse perspectives have been historically excluded from the core curriculum. These courses promote students’ critical engagement with issues arising from the historical exclusion of oppressed voices. As such, courses with a diversity designation enhance student awareness of current and past injustices, as well as the potential role of diversity in enriching society. Upon completion of DV courses, students are able to:

  1. Articulate the ways in which systems of power impact the construction of individual and group identity. Discuss how these identities and relationships, in turn, shape perception of systematic power within social, economic, or historical contexts;
  2. Analyze how individuals, organizations, and institutions create, perpetuate, adapt to, or challenge inequality; and 
  3. Demonstrate how shifts in your personal understanding contribute to using diverse perspectives in thinking and problem-solving within a broad range of contexts. 

Quantitative Literacy (QL) (3 credits from designated courses)

Quantitative Literacy (QL) is the ability to reason with quantitative concepts for the purpose of understanding the world. In a data and information-saturated world, citizens need quantitative skills to understand commonplace and complex issues, and to be able to formulate and ask intelligent questions of experts. Concepts related to quantitative literacy include, but are not limited to, measurement, logic, number sense including different magnitudes, the difference between percentage and percent change, sampling and error, and graphical representation of data and information. 

Courses with a QL designation will draw their motivation for quantitative work from the personal, social, and scientific issues they seek to address. Such courses will help students to develop the ability and habits of mind to investigate and interpret quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it, and apply it, all in the context of the issues that motivate the course. Upon completion of QL courses, students are able to:

  1. Provide accurate explanations of information generated or presented in quantitative or mathematical forms (e.g., equations, expressions, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words) and describe this information in the context from which it is taken; 
  2. Analyze such information in order to make judgments, construct arguments, and draw conclusions in context, explain how these are supported by the quantitative analysis, and describe the limits of such analysis; and
  3. Present this information in an effective format in support of a well-reasoned argument that addresses the context from which the information is taken  

Writing Intensive (WI) (3 credits from designated courses)

All students must successfully complete one Writing Intensive (WI) course taken at Ithaca College. The overarching goals of WI courses are to develop students’ abilities to use writing as a pathway of making meaning within a specific subject area and a means of participating in ongoing conversations within a particular academic or professional community.

Students must fulfill the Academic Writing requirement before enrolling in a WI course. Upon completion of a WI course, students are able to:

  1. Develop and articulate content knowledge and critical thinking in a specific academic discipline through frequent practice of informal and formal writing; 
  2. Demonstrate understanding of audience expectations, genres, and conventions appropriate to communicating in a specific academic profession or related profession; and
  3. Compose one or more documents totaling at least 3000 words through multiple stages of writing, including brainstorming, drafting, integrating sources, and revising comprehensively after receiving substantial, formative feedback on drafts  

ICC Capstone (CP) (0-6 credits from designated courses)

An ICC capstone experience is required for all students; this capstone may be a stand-alone course or integrated into a departmental capstone experience. As part of the capstone experience, students will complete a reflective artifact addressing the question, “What has my learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum contributed to my education and how is that learning related to my major and other learning experiences?” Upon completion of the ICC capstone requirement, students are able to:

  1. Engage in and communicate self-reflection about their learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum, their chosen discipline, and their overall Ithaca College experience; 
  2. Connect relevant experience and academic knowledge to deepen understanding of fields of study and broaden their own points of view; and
  3. Summarize prior learning inside and outside of the classroom to reveal significantly changed perspectives about educational and life experiences

Complementary Liberal Arts Coursework (12 credits)

All students complete 12 credits of Complementary Liberal Arts (CLA) coursework identified by individual degree programs or Schools. This component of the ICC is intended to allow students maximum flexibility in integrating general education coursework with academic interests and degree programs. Please see School sections of this catalog for details about specific CLA requirements for each degree program. Although programs or Schools may identify additional outcomes, fulfilling this requirement will facilitate students’ ability to be integrative thinkers or critical and analytical problem solvers. Upon completion of the 12 hours of CLA coursework, students are able to:

  1.  Apply concepts, theories, methods, or skills to analyze new questions or complex problems; or
  2.  Address a topic, issue, problem area, or human challenge using a combination of concepts, theories, and/or  methods from multiple perspectives or fields of study. 

Electronic Learning Portfolio

The purpose of the electronic learning portfolio (ePortfolio) is to provide a venue for students to demonstrate achievement of the three overarching outcomes of the ICC, including integration across the major, ICC, and other experiences that contribute to their learning. An important benefit of the ePortfolio is that it allows students to include artifacts and reflection on learning from their major, ICC, and outside-of-class experiences together in a single space, which facilitates reflection on how those elements collectively contribute to learning. Within that space, students may also complete portfolios required of degree programs, co-curricular activities, or personal portfolios.

Students are responsible for collecting and selecting artifacts to be included in the ePortfolio. ICC portfolios will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis and students will be required to earn a pass in order to graduate.

Information specifically related to transfer may be found in this catalog in the Student Information section.

For additional information about the ICC, including specific courses that are part of the program, please visit the Ithaca College ICC Website.