Author: Samantha Levine

Novel Course Cluster Explores “Challenges in Childhood and Society”

No matter what professions Georgetown undergraduate students ultimately pursue, they will likely encounter a longstanding local and global issue — the challenges faced by vulnerable children when it comes to their physical, cognitive, social and behavioral development.

To help students understand and respond to those challenges, a group of professors from Georgetown University’s main campus and medical center have developed a novel set of courses that involve undergraduates in interventions and solutions to pressing problems that too many children face.

To read more about the Challenges in Childhood course cluster, click here.

Dr. Marcia Chatelain Kicks off the Red House Dinner Series

Last Wednesday, Designing the Future(s) hosted Dr. Marcia Chatelain and a group of 15 undergraduates at our inaugural event for the Red House Dinner Series. The event brings together students and outstanding professors from across the university in conversations on higher education in the 21st century.

Dr. Chatelain, professor of History and a scholar of black girlhood during the Great Migration, shared her insights on working, living, and learning on Georgetown’s campus. The group responded to questions about the role of technology and social media in engaging students and faculty, the intersections of national events and in-class pedagogy, and embracing feminist voices and intersectional activism. Chatelain also shared strategies for “staying legible” to family when coming home from college, and the importance of developing shared vocabularies in community spaces.

The Red House Dinner Series will run through the Spring semester. If you are a student looking to attend the Series, you can sign up here. If you are a faculty member who would like to share your work or join our conversations around modern issues in higher education, please email the Red House at


You can learn more about Dr. Chatelain’s scholarship and teaching at her website.

Challenges in Childhood and Society

The Challenges in Childhood and Society course cluster consists of four 1-credit modules that can be bundled together to create a cohesive interdisciplinary experience for students. Collectively, the courses intensively focus on research, practice, and policy perspectives related to children’s physical health, and cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development and the social contexts in which children live, learn, and play. These courses, which will begin running in Fall 2016, allow faculty from both Main Campus and the Medical Center for an experience that combines classroom and site-based work and exposes students to a wide array of academic disciplines and research and teaching practices through both community-based learning and intensive seminar and policy courses.

For more information about this course cluster, visit


UNXP-200 (Principles in Childhood and Society): January 11 – February 6, 2017
UNXP-201 (Community Practices): February 7 – March 27, 2017
UNXP-202 (Policy in Childhood and Society): March 28 – May 1, 2017
UNXP-203 (Contemporary Issues in Childhood and Society): March 28 – May 1, 2017


Georgetown has launched a new program designed to expand opportunities for students from traditionally underserved communities pursuing studies in the sciences.

The Regents Science Scholars Program, funded by a $1.2 million investment from alumni Joe Zimmel (C’75) and Alison Lohrfink Blood (B’81), leverages the success of Georgetown’s innovation and efforts to address the critical shortage of underserved and first-generation college students who successfully complete degrees in the sciences. (read more)

Future(s) Initiative profiled in Chronicle on Higher Education

The Red House’s curricular experiments at Georgetown University have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as part of their “Re:Learning project,” which provides stories and analysis about the changing landscape of higher education. Goldie Blumenstyk profiled Randy Bass and interviewed several Georgetown faculty members about the process of bringing these curricular experiments to fruition. For the full story on the Future(s) Intiative’s reinvention efforts, visit The Chronicle

The Competencies vs. Credit Hours Conundrum

The Future(s) Initiative recently hosted Dr. Daniel Hickey, Professor at Indiana University’s School of Education, for a conversation on assessment practices and micro-credentials.

During a workshop with Georgetown faculty and staff explored the tensions that surface alongside major advances in instructional technology, particularly focusing on those that have emerged from massive open online courses, e-portfolios, and digital badges. On the one hand, some innovators aim to leverage these new technologies to support and measure self-paced learning around specific competencies, questioning the efficacy of conventional course credit simply tied to seat-time. On the other hand, however, many educators also believe that this approach bypasses the crucial forms of inquiry and social interaction that courses support. Dr. Hickey offered insightful commentary on the subject, sharing a host of promising efforts that seek to reconcile these tensions by integrating traditional learning with robust, technology-driven learning analytics.

After completing his Ph.D. in Psychology at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Hickey entered into a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Performance Assessment at Education Testing Service before becoming a faculty member at IU’s School of Education. He studies participatory approaches to assessment, validity, feedback, and motivation in technology-based contexts.

The SIT Model for Experiential Learning

On November 17th Dr. John Lucas, Provost and Executive Vice President for the School for International Training (SIT), joined our Global Future(s) Curriculum Cohort for a conversation on the SIT model for experiential education.

Founded in 1964, SIT prepares its students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens through semester-long study abroad experiences that integrate  mentorship, original research, and language training. Students begin their time abroad with an immersive, week-long orientation. Over the next several weeks, through a combination of field-based excursions and a series of language courses, thematic seminars, and ethics-based research tutorials, they engage deeply with a global issue of their choosing – for instance, international health, migration, or human rights. As the semester draws to a close, students spend the remaining five weeks delving into an original independent research project that builds on a subject of interest to them, concluding their stay with a presentation on their findings for evaluation.

As the Global Future(s) Curriculum Cohort explores new modes of teaching with a global dimension, the SIT model for experiential learning can inform the ways that Georgetown supports deep and immersive learning in a global context.

Dr. Lucas holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Spanish from Penn State University and an M.A. in International Education from SIT. He is fluent in Spanish, Catalan, and French with proficiency in German and Italian.