The Integrated Studies Movement began in the 1980s under the guidance and creative stewardship of the Washington Center for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education at The Evergreen State College. History faculty member Jim Harnish led the push to bring the coordinated studies/integrated studies movement to North. (He taught in the coordinated studies program until he retired in 2007.) North Seattle Community College was one of the first colleges in the state (along with Seattle Central) to develop interdisciplinary courses.
In 1997 when the Associate of Arts degree was revised, the faculty within the Seattle Community College District (North Seattle, Seattle Central and South Seattle Community Colleges) voted to make integrated studies one of the special requirements for completing the AA degree. The faculty believed that the collaborative integrated studies model provides students (and faculty) with an opportunity to be more engaged in active learning and, thus, have more intellectual and social interaction with each other.
The student discussion seminars provide an opportunity to explore complex questions, problems and or issues often too broad to be adequately studied within a single discipline. The desired outcome of an integrated studies course is that students develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge.