School of Integrated Sciences

ISAT Department changes its name

JMU School of Integrated Sciences faculty

After 25 years, James Madison University’s Department of Integrated of Science and Technology (ISAT) will change its name to the School of Integrated Sciences (SIS).

The change, proposed almost two years ago, was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) effective November 15.

Dr. Jeffrey Tang, Associate Dean of the College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE) and former department head for ISAT says that two main factors motivated the change. ISAT is both the name of the department and a program. “Having a department with the same name as one of the programs invites confusion for everyone,” he said. Additionally, the term “school” more accurately reflects the quantity and diversity of programs contained within SIS.

SIS currently houses the new Cyber Intelligence Graduate Certificate, a master’s program in Environmental Management and Sustainability, the shared biotechnology undergraduate program, and the Geographic Science, Intelligence Analysis, and ISAT undergraduate programs. As Dr. Bob Kolvoord, Dean of CISE notes “this is a long-needed structural change to recognize the growing diversity of programs within that unit.”  “The term "school" is often used to describe this sort of multidimensional unit,” says Tang. “While the name is changing, SIS will be home to the same great academic programs.”

Linda Thomas, who joined JMU in June, serves as the new director for SIS. She plans to spend the next year expanding on the school’s current success. “I’d like to continue to create a framework for faculty and staff to feel safe and supported so that they are comfortable exploring and pushing themselves past current academic boundaries,” she said. “I also want to use our resources to give our students the best possible college experience that serves as a launch pad for their future. Helping the next generation to ask the important questions and develop a systematic way of analyzing complex problems aligns with my understanding of what 21st century higher education should be,” said Thomas. “I am so proud to be associated with such forward thinkers and exceptional students.”

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Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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