Individual Study Plan: 2011-2013
An Individual Study Plan is part of the backbone of the CEP major. CEP allows students to create their own focus, and in doing so design their own curriculum, which is a hefty project to take on. In order to ensure that every student is creating a legitimate curriculum for themselves, the first quarter of the CEP program is spent building a document that includes every class a student will take, why they want to take it, and how it adds to their education within their focus. This is a fundamental part of the CEP program.
We refer to this as a "living document", because every quarter each student is expected to go back through the document, edit the previous quarter's description to describe what they learned (rather than what they expect to learn), and make any necessary modifications to the next quarter's schedule. Not every class is available every quarter, so the ISP is developed with the assistance of the CEP Program Manager, Caitlin Dean, who helps us to find relevant classes, tells us when classes do not meet the necessary expectations, and assists us in getting into classes that are listed as major specific.
By the end of our Senior Year, the ISP is a road map that shows the progression of ideas we have followed, from the day we stepped into CEP to the day we finished. For many students, myself included, the focus of their education changed the more they learned. At the beginning of the program, I was interested in building sustainable food communities - an interesting topic, but with very little application for the information I was learning. By the end of CEP, my focus is much more directed - I am interested in understanding what motivates people to become part of sustainable communities, and what motivates others not to. In other words, how do people decide what is "good" or "bad", and how do they use these judgments to help them make decisions? My ISP reflects this change in focus, as I moved from heavily fact based classes, to classes that looked at psychology and human nature.