University Experience Program Curriculum
A primary objective of Project ISLAS is to unify disparate mission-focused curriculum into a unified University Experience Program (UEP). Together with institutional support and other external resources, Project ISLAS has provided a collaborative platform to bring together high-impact learning experiences for students. Program elements directly supported by the Project ISLAS grant are indicated below with an asterisk.
Launched by Project ISLAS, the University Experience Program promotes the success of all CI students through courses that
- highlight the four CI mission pillars (multicultural, international, interdisciplinary, and civic engagement/service learning);
- scaffold the learning of critical thinking competencies and multiple literacies;
- focus on the transition to university studies;
- embed high-impact learning practices such as learning communities, undergraduate research, and interdisciplinary learning; and
- employ faculty- and peer-support strategies. *
Most University Experience courses meet General Education outcomes.
Developed under Project ISLAS, UNIV 150, 250 and 349 have embedded peer mentors, University Experience Associates (UEAs), who also lead Dolphin Interest Groups (DIGs) learning communities. Project ISLAS also established the University Experience Program Director position. *
The University Experience Program benefits from on-campus partnerships, and external funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Keck Foundation, and the Give Students a Compass Project.
For more information on:
- multicultural educational experiences, go to the Center for Multicultural Engagement.
- UNIV 392 International Experience, go to the Center for International Affairs.
- the Model Union Nations Team at CI, go to Model UN.
- the Stepladder Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (SPIRaL) undergraduate research courses offered through the Center for Integrative Studies, go to SPIRaL.
- experiential and service-learning opportunities, go to the Center for Community Engagement.
UNIV 100 - University Life and College Success (1 unit)
Introduces first-year students to university life, the structure and policies of the University and the development of strategies and skills to help ensure success in college. Typically includes guest speakers from the campus and community. Emphasis on applying in other classes the skills and strategies learned.
UNIV 150 - First Year Seminar (4 units) ISLAS *
This freshman seminar integrates the CI mission and critical thinking with strategies to promote student success. Students will develop literacies (quantitative, information, scientific, financial, cultural), communication skills (oral and written), and multicultural perspectives. The seminar promotes success in major core courses and/or introduces students who have not declared a major to CI’s interdisciplinary ways of knowing. Gen Ed: A3, C3b; Goals 1, 2 and 3.
UNIV 198 - Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research (3 units) SPIRaL
Students develop basic data collection and interpretation skills, learn to use and evaluate various information sources, and develop an awareness of how both methods and sources arise from disciplinary contexts. Students will be introduced to current theory on interdisciplinary learning and begin to practice methods and processes that lead to interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration. Gen ED: A3; Goals 1, 2 and 3.
Recent offerings: “The Chemistry of Ceramics”
UNIV 210 - Critical Thinking and the University Mission (3 units)
Teaches critical thinking skills, including forms of logic, by introducing students to the four components of our mission. Students will apply various types of arguments and understand the relationship of language to logic in analyzing issues and opportunities specific to multiculturalism, internationalism, interdisciplinarity and community engagement. Gen Ed: A3; Goals 1 and 2. Formerly UNIV 110.
UNIV 250 - Second Year Seminar (3 units) Compass
Examining ideas and perspectives in a complex world, this sophomore seminar highlights interdisciplinary connections in scholarship and “ways of knowing” and fosters in students their development as self-reflective, culturally aware, and responsive community participants. Students gain hands-on experience, knowledge, and skills about local communities and community organizations and learn how different academic disciplines apply to real world problems. Requires community service work, in addition to class time, during the semester. Topical content and community-based projects will vary from semester to semester. GenEd: A3, D, E; Goals 1, 2, 3, and 7.
Recent offerings: “Serve and Learn as Active College Students” and “Students in the Public Interest” – Sustainability theme
UNIV 298– Further Investigations (3 units) SPIRaL
The entire class enters the “process of answering a question, solving a problem, or addressing a topic that is too broad or complex to be dealt with adequately by a single discipline” (Klein and Newell, 1997). As students approach parts of the larger problem, they gain experience in deciding what methods and types of information are necessary. In collaborating with each other, they will identify disciplinary perspectives and integrate their insights by building a more comprehensive perspective. Students who complete University 298 will have priority enrollment in University 398 and 498 when they are offered in future semesters. Gen ED: A3; Goals 1-4; Goals 5-7 (depending on content).
Recent offerings: “Water and Conflict in the West”, “Inside the Black Box” (politics in the archives), and “Oceans: Whale/Human Interface”
UNIV 300 - University Life and College Success for Transfer Students (1 unit)
Introduces transfer students to university life, the structure and policies of the University and the development of strategies and skills to help ensure success at CI. Typically includes guest speakers from the campus and community, as well as self-assessment of prior work and current academic strengths and weaknesses. Emphasis on applying in other classes the skills and strategies learned.
UNIV 349 - Transfer Year Seminar (3 units) ISLAS *
This interdisciplinary seminar for first year transfer students promotes successful intellectual and social transition to CSU Channel Islands through a problem-based approach. Students examine the modern world and issues facing societies from multiple perspectives, and develop and convey to others analysis of and solutions to problems using the methodologies, tools and techniques of academic disciplines. Students will develop inquiry skills that emphasize critical thinking and independent learning as well as identify how universities and specific disciplines relate to social problems. The seminar promotes students’ reflection on prior learning at other institutions and its relationship to the CI mission and their degree program, and aims to increase student engagement in intellectual life at the university. Themes will vary. Gen Ed: A3, E, UDIGE; Goals 1-4.
Recent offerings: "Politics Counts", "Integrating Identities", "International Modernism and Cultural Upheaval: Arts and Political History", and "Problems in Energy and Society"
UNIV 391 – United States Travel Study Experience (1-3 units)
Provides an opportunity for students to earn credit for travel and study within the United States. Students study a topic or discipline associated with the travel destination. Students participate in university sponsored travel that facilitates or enhances specialized study under the direction of faculty from a campus academic program. Students are required to synthesize the results of their course experience in a written, visual or presentation format. Repeatable for credit up to 9 units. A lab fee is required.
Recent offerings: “Research at Sea”, “Detroit Study Tour”, and “Science and Public Policy-Yellowstone”
UNIV 392 - International Experience (1-3 units)
Provides an opportunity for students to earn credit for travel and study in a country
outside the US, where the student is immersed in a foreign culture. With faculty advisor
approval, students may participate in a university-sponsored trip abroad or a personal
trip abroad. Requires an approved plan of study by the faculty advisor prior to the
experience. Repeatable for credit. Gen Ed: C3B; Goal 1.
Recent offerings: Cuba, Costa Rica, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, and South Africa
UNIV 398 - Advanced Investigations (3 units) SPIRaL
Students explore an interdisciplinary research question by developing their own research plans, drawing on multiple disciplines and the multiple approaches to research presented in the 198/298 sequence. Students will disseminate results through a research paper and presentations on campus and in local schools. In addition, students will be required to identify and apply to relevant summer research programs, internships, and scholarships. GenED: A3.Gen ED: A3; Goal 1-4; Goals 5-7 (depending on content).
Recent offerings: "Chemistry of Plant-Animal Interactions”
UNIV 491 - Model United Nations (1 unit)
Prerequisite: POLS 490 Special Topics: UN
For students participating in the Model United Nations program. Students research and roleplay positions of various countries on selected global issues. Repeatable up to 5 units. Gen Ed: Goal 1. Credit/No Credit.