Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Academic Support Programs

University College

232 Lawrence Center
Marie Bunner, Chairperson
Ann Colgan, Director for Interdisciplinary Studies programs

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Academic Support Programs is a cadre of University faculty who have specific and specialized administrative and/or teaching assignments at the University. While much of the assigned responsibility is to facilitate students' out-of-class learning and development, regular and non-classroom teaching are still included. Areas within the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Academic Support Programs include Exploratory Studies academic advising, career advising, academic administration, tutoring, services for students with disabilities, and other articulated teaching and/or administrative assignments.

The Interdisciplinary Studies majors provide the opportunity for students to self-design a major that is tailored to their goals and interests and which provides an alternative to traditional baccalaureate degrees in specific academic areas.

Interdisciplinary Studies broadens the student's intellectual understanding and professional skills through a well-rounded yet flexible degree program that combines courses in the areas of science, humanities, behavioral science, and the arts. The result is a curriculum that is suited to the individual student's personal academic and professional goals. Students employ interdisciplinary perspectives with relevance to real-world issues, demonstrating a skill set of interest to employers and graduate schools.

Interdisciplinary Studies is a robust program that enables and encourages students to explore connections and relationships that exist between different areas of study and to pursue their own unique interests. The major affords students the capability to create an individualized academic program of study that prepares them for a wide variety of future educational and/or career opportunities. Students design a unique, career-centered or graduate goal-centered curriculum that may not be otherwise available at the University. The course of study includes the student's selection of at least one academic minor and self-designed major courses chosen in collaboration with the student’s advisor.

Students may apply to enter Interdisciplinary Studies as a first year student or may apply as a transfer student from other departments at WCU or from other colleges and universities. Interdisciplinary Studies may be the perfect fit for transfer students with credits from multiple institutions or multiple departments/majors.

All undergraduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the undergraduate catalog.  Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs may be listed below.

Advising Policy

All Interdisciplinary Studies students must meet with their major advisor at least one time per semester to review their academic progress and plans.

Admission Policy

Students may elect to enroll in Interdisciplinary Studies upon matriculation at WCU or may transfer into the programs. 

 Accelerated Program Policy

Refer to the Accelerated Programs page for more information.

Associate Professors

Cristobal Cardemil-Krause (2013)

Chairperson, Languages and Cultures

Licenciado en Letras, Pontifica Universidad; M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University

John B. Craig (2016)

Interim Dean, University College

B.S., Ed.M., Temple University; Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Tiffany E. Jones (2017)

B.A., Temple University; M.S., West Chester University; Ed.D., Widener University

Ann Lieberman Colgan (2007)

Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Program

B.A., West Chester University of Pennsylvania; M.Ed., Rivier College; Ed.D., Gratz College

Marie Wilcom Bunner (2016)

Chairperson, Interdisciplinary Studies and Academic Support Programs

Interim Director, Academic Success Program

B.S., M.Ed., University of Pittsburgh; Ed.D., Saint Joseph's University

Assistant Professors

Courtney Ann Lloyd (2017)

Director, Exploratory Studies

B.S., Pennsylvania State University; M.P.A., D.P.A., West Chester University

Jocelyn A. Manigo (2018)

B.A., Swarthmore College; M.Ed., Ed.D., Widener University

Casey Schmitt (2023)

M.A., University of Oregon; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

David Thomas (2023)

Undergrad, M.A., Ph.D., Old Dominion University


IDS 300. Interdisciplinary Practice and Theory. 3 Credits.

Think of an issue facing the world today. No matter which one is selected, it is likely to be a complex issue which does not lend itself to simple solutions. Typically, the issues have broad implications which span multiple disciplines. This course will introduce the concept of interdisciplinarity across the liberal arts, a unique process by which the perspectives and insights of multiple disciplines are examined in an effort to arrive at informed, workable solutions based upon the best the disciplines have to offer.
Pre / Co requisites: IDS 300 requires a prerequisite of acceptance into an Interdisciplinary Studies major.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

IDS 450. Interdisciplinary Studies Internship. 3 Credits.

The internship is designed to give students meaningful hands-on experience by applying the knowledge and skills learned in major, minor, and general education coursework to on-the-job assignments and responsibilities at a host organization. Student participation, learning, thoroughness and quality of assignments, and supervisor feedback all contribute to the final grade.
Pre / Co requisites: IDS 450 requires students to be at least junior standing and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.
Repeatable for Credit.

IDS 490. Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone. 3 Credits.

This senior capstone prepares students for professional and graduate opportunities through group and individual activities, readings, course discussions, and various written assignments. Students integrate the interdisciplinary skills and mindsets acquired while taking the liberal arts courses used to fulfill the general education requirements, their chosen minor requirements, their self-designed concentrations as well as other electives, and their applied life experiences. As a result, students come to an understanding of the professional and educational opportunities available to them related to their selected minors and concentrations as well as areas outside their minor fields for which they might qualify.
Pre / Co requisites: IDS 490 requires senior status or permission of instructor.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.


SUS 100. Introduction to Sustainability and Resilience. 3 Credits.

In this course, students will identify and imagine solutions for unsustainable patterns in social, economic, and environmental systems and individual behavior, both on campus and in the broader world.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

SUS 400. Sustainability Capstone: Application & Leadership. 3 Credits.

In this course, students will apply prior sustainability knowledge in collaborative and individual projects to develop the interpersonal and managerial capacities necessary to be change leaders for sustainability.
Pre / Co requisites: SUS 400 requires a prerequisite of SUS 100.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Spring.



The Student the University.
Typically offered in Fall.