IPAC, the Interdisciplinary Programs and Activities Center, can best be represented by defining it in terms of what Lakoff and Johnson refer to as a cognitive model. A cognitive model is simply a set of conceptual metaphors, each of which has the same target domain. Thus:
- IPAC is a GARDEN suggests the idea that IPAC exists in large part to nurture developing interdisciplinary programs and activities. This metaphor serves well to justify the existence of IPAC.
- IPAC is a MACHINE suggests the fact that IPAC actually does some work. This metaphor serves well to describe the structure and operation of IPAC.
- IPAC is a SIGN suggests that IPAC stands for something other than itself. This metaphor serves as a reminder that interdisciplinarity is one of the core academic values embraced by SUNY Oswego.