Center for Integrative Studies

Established in 1999, the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS) continues St. Olaf’s long-standing commitment to providing opportunities for students to make meaningful connections among the many parts of their college careers, and to emphasizing the links between students’ academic studies and experiences on campus and in other communities.

In the CIS “integrative studies” refers to the intentional combination of diverse methodologies, experiences, subject matters, learning styles, and resources. Individual students may use integrative studies to develop an individual major that satisfies their educational goals.


New Individual Majors Approved

These individual majors were reviewed and approved at the end of last semester:

  • Paige Dahlke ’18 – Environmental Filmmaking
  • Niyat Gegziahber ’18 – Health Policies and Issues: Access to Health Care
  • Wassim Askoul ’18 – Cybernetics and Robotics: The Nature of Consciousness
  • Siimon Sander ’18 – Marketing for Entrepreneurship
  • Elissa Temme ’19 – Visual Communication and Graphic Design
  • Melanie Thompson ’19  – Visual Storytelling through Film and Animation
  • Ellie Bergstrand ’19 – Management and Leadership Studies
Ken Bonde Awards – Class of 2017

Megan Skelly and Leonard Vibbi received the 2017 Ken Bonde Award in recognition of their exemplary work in the individual major, especially in the senior project and its related research and activities.

Megan’s individual major, Media and Public Relations: Marketing to Multiple Audiences, combined social and cultural studies, management and leadership studies, and media and communication studies to explore the perceptions of different demographics in media audiences, and to learn how to create socially conscious media and marketing materials. She investigated in particular the intersection of media, gender and sexuality, and sport. Her senior project in the spring semester built on research and a literature review from the fall semester to create and administer a survey of athletes in the conference in which St. Olaf participates, and a report, “The Intersection of Gender, Sexuality, and Student-Athlete Experience in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).” After presenting her findings in discussions with the athletics director and other athletics staff at St. Olaf, Megan will also present to the MIAC administration.

Leonard’s individual major, Technology Innovation and Civic Development, explored the role of technology in developing countries, and the possibilities of creating or adapting technology applications for different cultural and social contexts. He focused in particular on developing technologies that can be used in countries and regions currently at a disadvantage for infrastructure, economic stability, and education, with the goal of improving both opportunities for civic engagement and the standard and quality of life. Leonard’s senior project developed a prototype mobile application to help college students in Sierra Leone access educational materials. The Education for All Application (edfa-App) would consist of educational materials tailored to the Sierra Leone tertiary education curriculum; it leverages the popular adoption of smartphone usage among university students in Sierra Leone, with the goal of reducing the difficulties that students and teachers have in accessing learning resources.