The Integrated Sciences First-Year Program (ISFP) is a new initiative at Hampshire College designed to challenge students to learn about complex systems and systems thinking, improve quantitative skills, make connections among fields of science, develop innovative collaborative projects, and create a vibrant science community. Currently the program is using the Hampshire College Kern Center, built to the living building challenge standard, as a case study. There are three parts to the program: collaborative courses, student design projects, and a summer research intensive.
ISFP I – Fall Collaborative Courses
The collaborative courses are taught during the fall semester. Students enroll in one of three discipline specific courses (hydrology, mathematics, microbiology) and meet twice a week. Once a week all three classes work together on interdisciplinary projects, share expertise, and form a collaborative science learning community. Students read and share primary literature, complete problem sets, and work collaboratively on projects.
ISFP II – Spring Design Projects
Students who complete the collaborative courses may choose to continue their work using the living building in a Collaborative Projects Design course during the spring semester. Students learn skills in independent and collaborative research, project design, grant writing, presentation, and science writing. Students may use this course to develop project proposals for summer work as part of or to prepare them for work in Division II.
ISFP III – Summer Research Intensive
During the summer following their first year, students can apply to the 4-week Integrated Sciences Summer Experience. Students receive room and board, a research stipend, and an immersive experience in conducting research with faculty members.