Integrated Studies Program

The Integrated Studies Program (ISP) offers a curriculum for first-year students built around the study of technologies as they are practiced in different cultures and historical periods. ISP promotes a form of education that seeks to show students the connections among ideas and processes in sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Hands-on learning complements the theoretical work that is a typical component of most first-year coursework. ISP strives to provide students the academic and social foundation for success at MIT and beyond by creating a community devoted to team approaches to design and problem solving, inquiry, enhanced communication skills, and life-long learning.

Program Highlights

ISP's fall and spring HASS-D subjects were team-taught by Professor Arthur Steinberg, Dr. Peter Dourmashkin, and Ms. Frederica Steinberg, with the assistance of a variety of guest lecturers and workshop facilitators. In these subjects, students explored the relationship between technologies and the cultures in which they developed. Mr. Daniel Krynytzky, a visiting architect from California, spent a month in residence at ISP to develop and teach a unit on design. Under his guidance, students studied the design and construction of MIT's Stata Center, and experimented with principles of design by building paper hats and cardboard furniture. Other modules focused on food production and metalworking. Mr. Toby Bashaw ran a series of smithing workshops to complement a classroom unit focused on the tradition of the Samurai in Japanese culture.

Ms. Amy Smith worked with ISP faculty and staff to develop a new module on appropriate technologies as part of the spring HASS-D course. Students worked in teams to test the efficiency and cultural appropriateness of a variety of cooking stoves from around the world. Their projects culminated in a web page publishing their results and in oral presentations by the teams. Ms. Farzana Mohammed, an MIT graduate student and ISP alumna, assisted in the design and teaching of the module. Dr. Dourmashkin developed a new spring module to study how to recycle old computers.

ISP continues to focus attention on developing a strong writing curriculum under the leadership of Ms. Steinberg, with assistance from Ms. Debra Aczel. Students in the fall and spring HASS-D subjects wrote several papers of increasing length and sophistication; produced outlines, rough drafts, and abstracts; and spent considerable time working with writing graders/tutors to revise papers. Students receiving a grade of "B" or better were able to use the subjects to satisfy Phase I of MIT's Writing Requirement.

ISP hosted a weekly luncheon for freshmen with speakers from MIT and the greater community to discuss their work.

Students attended lectures in math and science subjects with the rest of the freshmen class, but were able to choose ISP-sponsored recitations in some subjects. Most students enrolled in 8.01x and 8.02x, experiential physics courses.

Staff and Enrollment

ISP welcomed new administrative assistant, Ms. Ruth Weinrib. Ms. Debra Aczel was the program administrator.

ISP enrolled 24 students (16 male, 8 female) in fall and 25 students (17 male, 8 female) in spring.

Arthur Steinberg

More information about the Integrated Studies Program can be found online at

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