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  October 18, 2004

Individualized Major Has New Director

Margaret Lamb has joined the University as director of the Individualized Major Program and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Her appointment took effect July 1.

“Dr. Lamb is deeply committed to the importance of individualized and interdisciplinary studies across the University,” says Lynne Goodstein, associate vice provost. “She faced many of the challenges of an individualized major student in her undergraduate work at Harvard, where she constructed her own program in Latin American Studies at the same time she met the requirements of a major in government.” Lamb reports to Goodstein.

Margaret Lamb meets with Amelia Leib

Margaret Lamb, recently appointed as director of the individualized major program, meets with Amelia Leib, a sophomore, to discuss an individualized major in fashion merchandising.
Photo by Melissa Arbo

The individualized major is an interdisciplinary program in which undergraduate students design their own plans of study for a major not offered elsewhere in the UConn undergraduate program. The concept for the major must be academically sound and the plan of study must be feasible to complete at UConn, Lamb says. There are about 200 students in the program.

As director of individualized and interdisciplinary studies, Lamb’s goals include continued development of the program, particularly in the areas of recruiting and advising students, engaging and supporting faculty advisors, preparing students for post-graduate work, and ensuring interdisciplinary students access to the classes they need for individualized majors.

“Individualized study is valuable because students are required to take a lot of initiative in designing and agreeing the components of their undergraduate major,” Lamb says. “They must develop a clear academic focus that is defensible in intellectual terms, as well as fit with their
experiences and ambitions. An individualized major is not just about academics, but is also about developing planning and other transferable skills.”

She adds, “For some students an interdisciplinary approach is an opportunity to consider a complex intellectual problem from several perspectives. For other students, an interdisciplinary approach permits the development of knowledge and skills in complementary academic fields
that will be deployed together in a profession.”

Lamb, who grew up in Lebanon, Conn., says it is a “real pleasure to return to this state, after many years of living in England, to work at the University.

“UConn has been so important to the education of many of my friends and family,” she adds.

Before coming to UConn, Lamb was an associate professor of accounting at the University of Warwick in England. Known for her interdisciplinary research on taxation, she has edited three books and published more than 20 papers and book chapters.

She served as undergraduate program director of the accounting and finance department at Warwick, and chair of the doctoral program accounting sub-committee.

She also participated in service activities, including curriculum development, undergraduate admissions, international exchange programs, and website development.

Lamb replaces Beth Frankel Merenstein, who served as interim director during the past year.