All participants are required to take two classes during the academic year. These classes will count toward your elective requirements for graduation but will not be typical lecture classes. Grand Challenges aren’t solved by sitting in lecture halls, so expect classroom instruction to take place beyond the barriers of classroom walls and to incorporate less conventional learning strategies. In addition to these required courses, participating students are encouraged to take core curriculum freshman classes with other members of the Grand Challenges community. Since you are already living together and the core curriculum is very similar for most majors, it makes sense to take classes with your neighbors.
Fighting for The Future
How Groups, Teams and Collaboration Succeed
In the fall, Dr. Wynens, director of Leadership Education and Development in the Division of Student Affairs, works with students to develop the interpersonal and team skills necessary for making progress against wicked problems. The process of collaboration requires that we become good at listening, arguing, analyzing, and persuading. Through simulations, collaborative assignments, team challenges, and constructive feedback, this class creates an environment where students learn how to succeed in multidisciplinary teams.
The assignments and activities in the class are designed to give students a greater exposure to the types of problems and issues that constitute a “grand challenge”. There are many people at GT already working on aspects of many grand challenges. Through guest speakers, campus organizations, and innovative learning formats, the class gains exposure to some of the best minds in the country currently working on these challenges. The class will even find itself in one of their labs or off-campus observing local examples of the challenges.
The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays for one and a half hours on each day and the location will depend on what is being taught in class that day.
Exploring Grand Challenges
The background information and design skills taught in the fall semester serve as the building blocks for the spring semester class, coordinated by Dr. Butera. The course is comprised of a series of problems that are issued throughout the semester instead of a traditional lecture or lab. At the beginning of the semester (during the first eight weeks), students are organized into groups of eight to ten to tackle two problems. These assignments give you an invaluable experience and prepare you to work in groups on projects that aren’t quite as detailed as the final project. The final assignment of the class isn’t a traditional presentation or exam—it is a proposal. Each project and group is completely unique and independent. Our hope is that the creativity and intelligence of the team will take you along a path that we could never have imagined when the description was created. At the end of the semester, you’ll create a pitch to receive funding to continue your ideas and solutions through additional research, travel, or student organizations.
This course is taught Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for one hour. One day will be a lecture with all the students in the community, while the other two meetings will be with your groups and faculty advisor.