Mission

The Integrated Science and Technology Department empowers students to analyze and solve real-world, human problems by integrating scientific, technological, business, and social aspects of these problems, and to communicate innovative solutions to a diverse audience.

History

1980s – The National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, and others call for educational reforms to meet the needs of a nation moving from industrialized society to an information society.

1988 – The Virginia General Assembly appoints a nine-member Commission on the University of the 21st Century.  The Commission challenges all institutions for higher education in Virginia to provide leadership in bringing about educational reform.

June 1988 – At JMU, President Ronald Carrier and the Board of Visitors establish the JMU Greater University Commission and charge it with “making a determination on how the Commonwealth might best respond to the increased demand” for higher education.

December 1988 – The JMU Greater University Commission produces a report that recommends “JMU establish a program which builds on the knowledge of science and mathematics but incorporates a commitment to society and human beings”.

1989 – The JMU Board of Visitors directs JMU to develop a proposal for a new College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and President Carrier assembles a “Blue Ribbon Panel” composed of prestigious leaders from industry, government, and education for advice on its structure, curriculum, and programs of study.

1990 – JMU formally responds to the Commission on the University of the 21st Century and proposes CAST (later known as the College of Integrated Science and Technology, CISAT) as an autonomous, new college within the university.  The proposal is enthusiastically received and approved with funding to hire the first provost.

1992-1993 – The CISAT provost hires faculty for the ISAT program, the flagship academic program in the college at that time.  Industry and government experience are hallmarks for these new hires and they create and develop the first ISAT courses.  The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia approves ISAT as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program.

Fall 1993 – The first undergraduate students enter JMU as ISAT majors.  Nine full-time faculty members teach courses to 66 freshmen in a modular building uphill from the Convocation Center.

1996, realizing their common, interdisciplinary, applied-science approach to problem solving, the Geographic Science program (GS) split off from the Geology Department and joined the ISAT Department.

1997 – The first class of ISAT majors graduate and enter the job market.  The ISAT/CS Building, the first academic building on the East Campus, is completed and occupied by a rapidly growing ISAT community with 35 ISAT professors and over 600 student majors.

1998 – Telecommunications is added as a sector and concentration.

2000 – A Master of Science in ISAT is created and its first students are accepted.

2001 – Dr. Ron Kander replaces Dr. Richard Roberds as ISAT Department Head.  The ISAT program undergoes its first program review, receiving a very positive report.  The program in Geographic Science joins the ISAT Department.  The number of ISAT majors peaks at around 800 students.

2005 – ISAT joins with the Biology Department to offer a Biotechnology major.  The Biotechnology team changes its name to Biosystems.

2007 – The 1000th ISAT major graduates from JMU.

2008 – The Intelligence Analysis program (IA) began. The program was added to the ISAT Department in an effort to meet the needs of the government and industry for highly trained intelligence analysts.  IA shares the cross-disciplinary focus of both ISAT and GS and adds new sets of analytical tools to a department that is continually growing and adapting to meet the needs of life in the 21st century.

2008 – ISAT receives a ABET accreditation in the Applied Science category.  The program is the first such accreditation of a four-year university in that category, and is awarded a full six-year accreditation, plus retroactive accreditation for the previous two years.  The ISAT Department gets a new Interim Head, Dr. Polly Cushman.

2010 – The ISAT Department gets a new Head, Dr. Eric Maslen.  The Biosystems team changes its name to Applied Biotechnology.

2012 – The ISAT Department joins the Departments of Engineering and Computer Science in the new College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE), when the College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT) splits. ISAT faculty member Bob Kolvoord becomes the Dean of CISE

2016 – Department Head, Dr. Eric Maslen retires. Dr. Jeffrey Tang becomes Interim Department Head.

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