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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.

Historic Youth Delegation Attends CEC Council Session in Mexico

In early September, a small delegation from Georgetown attended the 23rd Summit of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council. The CEC is a trinational organization dedicated to addressing North American environmental concerns. The delegation to the CEC was organized by the Environmental Future(s) Initiative (EFI) and generously cosponsored by the Offices for the Vice President for Global Engagement and the Provost. An account of the delegation’s experiences in Mexico is below.  Continue reading

Future(s) Catalyst Badge Program Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education

This past week, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article detailing milestones in digital credentialing. One of these milestones is the Catalyst Badge Program, a partnership between the Designing the Future(s) Initiative, the Division of Student Affairs at Georgetown University, and Education Design Lab (EDL). To read more about the Catalyst program milestone, 21st Century Badging, and other developments in digital badging and credentials, please read the full Chronicle article here.


Reimagining Experiential Learning at Georgetown

The Designing the Future(s) Initiative convened a group of faculty and staff whose work focuses on Experiential Learning during a Productive Open Design Space (PODS), part of the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship’s Teaching, Learning & Innovation Summer Institute of 2016.


With the facilitation of CNDLS and Dawan Stanford from the Education Design Lab, the team met over four days with the goal of exploring collaborative approaches to Experiential Learning at the university. The PODS group consisted of Vice Provost Randall Bass and Director for Education and Academic Affairs Catherine Armour from the Office of the Provost; Beth Harlan and Mike Schaub from the Career Center; Craig Rinker and Jason Sanderson from the Office of Global Education; Matt Fortier from the Beeck Center for Social Innovation; Sonia Jacobson from Undergraduate Research; Erika Cohen-Derr from the Office of Student Engagement; and Andria Wisler and Amanda Munroe from the Center for Social Justice. Each of these campus units offers unique experiential learning opportunities for students; examples include CBL courses and Alternative Breaks through CSJ; GU Impacts through the Beeck Center, and study abroad opportunities through OGE. The cohort focused its efforts on creating a united front to support and enhance experiential learning opportunities at Georgetown.


The group worked towards rebundling the college experience and heightening collaboration between their organizations. Through a series of brainstorming and matrix activities aimed at identifying common goals and potential areas of collaboration, participants ultimately developed plans to pilot a common student application process for fellowships and other opportunities on campus and streamlining university funding, a shared vocabulary for experiential learning initiatives, and an online portfolio to document students’ educational journeys throughout university and beyond.

The cohort will continue to meet throughout the summer and the coming academic year to further iterate on the work spearheaded in the PODS groups over the course of the week.



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)

Launch of the 2016 Deloitte Foundation Data Analytics Fellowship


The Designing the Future(s) Initiative, in partnership with the Deloitte Foundation, kicked off the second year of the Deloitte Foundation Data Analytics Fellowship at Georgetown University this past Monday with the 2016 theme of Education and the Workforce.

The current context of higher education is characterized by rising tuition costs, a more diversified student population, and emerging data that connect post-baccalaureate engagement in the workplace and in civic life with high impact, formational experiences during students’ time at colleges and universities. As we examine ways to meet the demand for job skills development and personal formation while addressing the current economic and social context, this Fellowship is perfectly timed. The 2016 Fellowship was awarded to student-driven research projects with potential to influence the national conversation around the value of and innovation in higher education, the relationship between higher education and workforce success, and the relationship between higher education and lifelong formation.

Students from across the university applied to participate in the 2016 Deloitte Core Consulting Series workshops. Selected students then engaged in a two-day training and simulated case study around higher education and the workforce. After completing the Consulting Series workshops, students submitted a research plan and applied for the Fellowship which will fully fund their research for the next 9 months.

This year’s Fellowship was awarded to four student research projects. Qinkai Ge, Weiye Deng, and Yu Yu will examine questions of equity and engagement in MOOCs; Andrew Langsner will study the effects of holistic education on post-secondary professional experience; Kevin Barsaloux, Mariam Ghavalyan, and Victoria Rosenboom will explore the efficacy of makerspaces in improving student labor outcomes; and Eric Price and Alex Norwood will analyze the factors that improve postsecondary completion and career placement rates.

The Deloitte Project Team and Georgetown University will provide ongoing assistance during the term of the Fellowship in the form of training sessions around data analytics and visualizations, mentored learning opportunities with subject matter experts and professional liaisons, workshops that focus on research design and qualitative data collection, and Georgetown faculty support.

To learn more about the 2016 Deloitte Foundation Data Analytics Fellowship, please contact Shane Thomas at

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.

Experience Institute Founder Victor Saad Visits Georgetown


On September 29-30, Victor Saad, founder of the Experience Institute, visited Georgetown to share his perspective on experiential learning.

Mr. Saad began his visit with a design session for Vice Provost Randy Bass’s course, “Signature Semesters,” challenging students to take ‘leaps’ that emerge from the intersection of their aspirations, inspirations, and assets. Later, he led another design session for Georgetown alumni, asking participants to identify their most valuable learning moments over a lifetime and to imagine how they might use those moments to shape their futures. Mr. Saad brought his visit to a close with a final design session for a diverse collection of students, faculty and staff, where attendees exchanged ideas of how to integrate experiential learning into the formal curriculum, and to measure and account for it as well.

Throughout his visit, Mr. Saad shared his reflections on the founding of the Experience Institute, a center for experiential learning that took shape following a year-long, globally-focused, self-guided master’s program he calls “The Leap Year Project.”

Victor Saad’s visit marked the first event of this year’s Red House Speaker Series, which brings diverse experts—such as Rick Vaz, Gartner Campbell and Nadia Roumani—to the Red House to share their perspective on new approaches to education with our community. Learn more about the other speakers who have visited here.