French named new Interim Director of IDSL


Sandra French

Sandra French, associate professor of communication, has been named the Interim Director of Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts major (IDSL).

French takes over the position following a restructuring and update of the curriculum and program.

"It's very exciting," French said. "I worked on the committee last year to update the program and I'm honored to have the opportunity to share those changes. This major offers students the freedom to build a course of study to realize their own educational vision."

IDSL students build an individualized course of study that integrates two disciplinary concentrations, one of which must be in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. IDSL students build these two areas of study into the program that is right for them through a program application process, academic and career advising, and faculty mentoring.

"The biggest strength of the program is its responsiveness to the changing needs of our student body and the employment environment they face," French said. "The IDSL program offers students a unique opportunity to build a multi-disciplinary major that fits their educational vision."

According to French, there are several goals IDSL will endeavor to meet this school year such as acquainting faculty and advisers with the updated program, encouraging faculty interest in participating as instructors and mentors, and creating a sense of camaraderie among majors.

With the restructuring of the program, IDSL still offers a flexible mix of online and campus course offerings that allow students to customize their majors. Now, however, all majors are required to successfully complete either an undergraduate research project or an internship. Additionally, a senior seminar course has been created to help students as they transition to careers and graduate school.

Jeanne Mekolichick, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, was French's predecessor in the role of interim director of IDSL. She left the position to become Interim Assistant Vice Provost for High Impact Practices.

"I am delighted that Dr. French will be assuming the position of Interim Director of the IDSL program," Mekolichick said. "She was an instrumental voice in the shaping of the new curriculum and program and I'm certain the major will continue to grow and thrive under her leadership."

Sep 2, 2014