Grand Challenge Learning Initiative

Welcome to the Grand Challenge Learning Initiative! We are an interdisciplinary general education initiative that invites undergraduates to connect their general education studies to real-world topics of pressing concern: Health and Wellness; Inequality and Cultural Understanding; or Sustainability, Energy and the Environment.

Our goal is to inject new vitality and coherence into general education. Too often, students are encouraged to approach “Gen Eds“ as a box to be checked or an obstacle to be overcome on the way to their degree. Instead, the GCL Initiative invites students to see how general education helps them to develop into critical thinkers and citizens well-versed in deep and interdisciplinary learning, and who are able to work in teams on creative and innovative projects.

We recognize that student success is greatly enhanced by an early opportunity to develop close working relationships with faculty members and diverse student cohorts. Therefore, in planning our Grand Challenge Learning courses, we have strived to develop inclusive classes by recruiting interested faculty from many different colleges and promoting the courses in all schools and colleges so as to attract a diverse student body.

Students taking courses in Grand Challenge learning are encouraged to follow a "pathway" of courses following the theme (Health, Inequality, or Sustainability) that most interests them. Each pathway introduces undergraduates to the extraordinary resources of a land-grant, research campus at the University of Illinois.