How Does it work?

Vertically Integrated Projects, or VIP, is a program within the College of Innovation and Design created to increase student access to hands-on learning with faculty mentors and diverse teams.

Faculty working on long-term projects that need students from multiple disciplines and skill areas are invited to create a VIP course. Students are then able to join their team and earn 1-2 credits in a semester at the 200, 400, or 500 level.

Each VIP project is set up as a unique section of VIP 200 (lower division), VIP 400 (upper division), and VIP 500 (graduate).

The courses are set up in the course catalog to allow maximum flexibility and long term engagement.

  • VIP courses have no prerequisites.
  • Students must have a permission number from the instructor. To request a permission number students should contact the instructor directly and/or complete this interest form.
  • Students can register for 1 or 2 credits. Each credit equals about 40 hours of work for the semester.
  • Undergraduate students can register for VIP credits for up to 4 semesters. Graduate students may register for up to 6 credits.
  • Course credits typically count as elective credits. Talk to your advisor or department chair to explore how it might count as a research, experiential/internship, and/or capstone class required for graduation.
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What are the benefits for students?

Participating in project based learning prepares students for the work world of interdisciplinary teams working on complex problems, where they build skills and responsibilities over time. Students have the opportunity for leadership training and experience, as well as team building and project management skills. Students contribute to the project’s success by exploring different roles on the team depending on what professional and technical skills (e.g., lab skills, scientific method application) they wish to grow. At the heart of VIP is the faculty mentorship, which is one of the most powerful and proven factors in student success after graduation.

What are the benefits for faculty?

“Rather than just a professor with an answer key, I get to be a faculty member working side by side with students to solve problems.”
– Lynn Catlin, VIP instructor

Through VIP participating faculty are able to integrate their teaching, research, and service activities, while also supporting the scalability and longevity of their research endeavors. Credit for teaching hours and financial incentives for student credit hours varies by department. The College of Innovation and Design provides support to faculty in developing plans, recruitment, forms and materials, and connecting with other VIP instructors. Please contact Jillana Finnegan at jillanafinnegan@boisestate.edu to learn more.

“The project seemed a lot different than projects we’ve seen, this one had an emotional tide to it. So that’s what drew me to it, that’s what made me join. It’s not necessarily about the designing and calculating, there is a reason behind it, so it makes you more passionate and driven.”
– Amber Salcedo, VIP student