The Integrated Social Sciences Bachelor Degree Completion program developed over the course of several years with the support of numerous UW staff, faculty and administrators. In 2012, then President Michael Young, Provost Ana Mari Cauce and Vice Provost David Szatmary shared ideas for expanding access to undergraduate education online. The framework for the ISS program then evolved through a year-long dialog with department leaders and faculty organized by Divisional Dean of Social Sciences Judy Howard who, along with Dean Bob Stacey, appointed Professor Matt Sparke as the inaugural Director.
From there, many additional voices contributed to the development of ISS, including the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Standards, advisers, C21 staff and librarians from across the three UW campuses. Once Mel Wensel was appointed as the ISS Director of Academic Services, the hard work of planning the degree requirements and identifying the core learning objectives and curriculum began in earnest. Through this collaborative planning work, the heart of ISS started to take shape. The core curriculum was inspired by the portfolio program at UW Bothell with invaluable contributions from UW Seattle faculty and staff interested in fostering deliberative student reflection and meta-learning.
In 2013, course development began. ISS solicited course proposals from social science faculty for developing our thematic courses. Some of these courses were adapted for the online environment from traditional on-campus classes, while others were developed as completely new courses. The courses were developed with the hard work of our dedicated faculty along with the support of instructional designers and the fantastic video work and technological support of the PCE production and administration teams, along with experts from UWIT. Thanks to the hard work of all these dedicated people, the ISS program began its first quarter in Autumn 2014 with a cohort of 104 students.