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Whom should I contact to start the process?

You can begin with a faculty member or advisor. Do your due diligence and visit with department chairs regarding existing majors.  If you still think an IDM is the best approach, schedule a time to be interviewed by the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary and Global Initiatives.

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When should I start preparing for the IDM?

As soon as possible, preferably as early as the latter part of your freshman year, and certainly no later than the beginning of the second semester of your sophomore year. Departments schedule courses about a year in advance, and sometimes courses that are in the catalog are offered rarely or irregularly. If study abroad will be a component of your IDM, it will also require that you extensively research into the appropriate programs and the courses offered by them.

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What is the best way to find my faculty mentors for the IDM?

Perhaps you’ve already taken a course with a faculty member whom you think would be a good mentor.  You can also ask department chairs and program directors for recommendations. Consider, however, that faculty members who serve as your mentor will be asked to perform long-term service to the task. They are not compensated financially for this work. Often, an individual faculty member will already be serving on several such committees, so it may take you some time to find the right mentor who can make a firm commitment.

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What is an assessment plan?

An assessment plan describes learning goals or outcomes and the specific objectives or benchmarks that are evidence of achievement towards those goals. In your assessment plan, be sure to be explicit and precise in tying these benchmarks to the overall outcomes. Specify what you will produce as evidence (papers, presentations, research and learning journal, periodic interview assessments, etc.), and note how you will use these data in a comparative way across time to show progress towards your learning outcomes. We highly recommend that you meet with your faculty mentors to design an assessment plan as this will be one of the most challenging and detailed requirements of the proposal.

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What criteria will the IDM committee use to decide on approving my application?

Above all the IDM committee is interested in the feasibility and practicality of your proposal. Its members are looking to see how carefully you considered alternatives; whether you obtained valid information from chairs and program directors about the availability of courses; and the extent to which your faculty mentors are invested in your project. Next, the committee will check to see that you are meeting the credit, research seminar and capstone requirements of the IDM as well as consistency with the rules published in the Enchiridion. Finally, the committee will check to see that you have a feasible assessment plan in place.

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What happens if my proposal is rejected?

The first time your proposal is reviewed, the IDM will provide comments. If the proposal is rejected the first time, you may use the critical commentary as a starting point for improving and revising the proposal for a resubmission. If the proposal is not accepted during a second review, you will not be permitted to pursue the IDM.

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Joseph Lennon, Ph.D.             Associate Dean for International and Interdisciplinary Initiatives