Grand Challenge Learning grew out of a campus-wide, grass-roots process. In Fall 2013, the Office of the Provost convened a Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education to gather input and ideas on the future of undergraduate learning at Illinois. The nearly 600 faculty, students, and staff who participated put forward a comprehensive vision of what Illinois students might learn, do, and achieve. A series of faculty working groups subsequently developed more specific plans for pursuing this vision, and these plans coalesced into the Grand Challenge Learning program and its signature GCX and Critical Frameworks courses.
Since that time, Grand Challenge Learning has emerged and grown through collaboration with deans, faculty, advisors, and students from all of our undergraduate colleges. GCL faculty come from nearly every college/school on campus: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Applied Health Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering; Fine and Applied Arts; Liberal Arts and Sciences; Media, the School of Labor and Employment Relations, and the School of Social Work. The number of faculty who want to be engaged with the program continues to grow.
The initiative has also developed unique bridges between faculty and Student Affairs, whose staff members have helped faculty to create experiential learning opportunities for the 100-level GCL Experience courses, leveraging their skills and involvement with campus housing, intercultural programs, career services, and more.