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2017-2018
The Undergraduate Calendar
 

Faculty of Environment

Department of Knowledge Integration

Overview
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Knowledge Integration (KI) is a unique Honours plan that prepares its students to understand and address the kind of real-world problems that require the collaboration, differing perspectives, and expertise of multiple disciplines. KI students study in both the humanities and the sciences to develop a balance of skills in creative, critical, and integrative thinking. By choosing an appropriate focus in their upper years, graduates can also prepare themselves for professional schools, for public service and policy-making, or for graduate research in their chosen discipline.

There are three key components to the KI plan: the KI core, breadth, and flexibility.

  1. KI Core: In their core courses, students learn the central concepts of knowledge integration—such as expertise and metacognition—and practise essential skills—such as research, collaboration, and problem-solving through design thinking. From the day they arrive, KI students study how we know what we know. What sort of questions does an anthropologist ask? How do computer scientists share their findings? In fourth year, students put it all together in solo projects where each asks and answers an original question that matters to them.
  2. Breadth: The breadth courses develop a balanced foundation of scholarly tools and transferable skills from across campus, including: critical thinking, public speaking, computer science, maths, sciences, ethics, statistics, research design, English, and a second language. Students are able to choose specific breadth courses to complement their abilities and interests.
  3. Flexibility: The KI program allows students the flexibility to explore various interests by taking a variety of courses across campus. Students will either pursue an area of specialization in an established discipline, which may include a minor or joint degree in that area, or create their own interdisciplinary specialization. A dedicated KI academic advisor helps students choose courses and create a plan that matches their academic interests and career goals.

The Knowledge Integration (KI) plan encourages and develops creative, critical, and integrative thinking skills, as well as self-awareness, initiative, and collaboration. KI students learn about the nature and variety of disciplinary specialties, how to characterize a discipline, and how to collaborate effectively with its practitioners. Group-based design projects in first and third years give students problem-solving opportunities for applying skills in integrating knowledge—from their coursework and beyond the classroom—to discover and develop innovative solutions. Every student studies at least one subject in meaningful depth, building a personal knowledge base and understanding first hand the experience of specialization, while contributing to the multidisciplinary nature of their core-course design groups. In their fourth year, KI students complete a research project on an inter- or transdisciplinary topic of particular interest to them, as a capstone for their entire degree.

 


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