Stephen Levine likes to play the blues—so much so that he is part of an acoustic blues duo—Dr. Levine and the Dreaded Blues Lady. But when he talks about the School’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program
, he sounds far from blue. “It’s a remarkable program for remarkable people,” he says.
Levine has been teaching courses on U.S. cultural history for the BIS program since 2006. He was appointed the program’s first full-time faculty member in 2014. One year later, Levine was appointed the program's director, and today also serves as an associate professor.
Leaving a tenured position at the University of Maine to come to Charlottesville, Levine found BIS students a revelation. “It is extremely energizing to teach adult students—especially the highly motivated students in our program,” he says. “They bring a mix of personal and professional experiences to discussions that you just don’t encounter in the traditional classroom.”
Levine has also been excited to see the BIS program grow and evolve. In 2014, the program opened its sixth site at Thomas Nelson Community College in Williamsburg, VA. He has also rolled out a new advising plan designed to help students focus on the skills they want to enhance while in the program, the academic areas they wish to explore, and the personal, professional, or academic goals they want to achieve. Levine is also in the process of developing new concentrations that will provide students with the opportunities to explore particular academic or professional areas in depth.
Increasing access to the program is also important to Levine. “The BIS program provides working adults throughout the Commonwealth access to UVA, and we continue to look for ways to increase this access and flexibility.” One way he has expanded access has been by offering courses in in-person, blended, and online formats. “We are committed to helping working adults in Virginia join the UVA community, complete their bachelor’s degree, and have the best possible educational experience,” says Levine. “This is our mission, and this is what we will continue to strive for.”