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UC Forward course topics are bold, daring, risky, exciting, or cutting edge, often centered on pressing issues for the nation and the world, or about thinking deeply about future scenarios. Sometimes an external partner or client will pose a problem that students will work on, or a professor will want to explore the intersection of two or more disciplines with students. Students may focus on tangible solutions like designing a new health care product, or they may be tasked with generating new philosphies or ideaologies about art and design. The courses may be taught as labs, studios, classroom courses, or in the field – some even include travel or international study components. In all cases, the learning is designed to be holistic, that is, to examine an issue from all angles in a spirit of curiosity, deep inquiry, self-reflection, and collaboration.

tianeman square

Students enrolled in the course "Sustainable Urbanism. An International Perspective" show their UC Pride in Tiananmen Square during their 2013 course trip to Beijing.

UC Forward Courses are...


UC Forward courses are Trans-Disciplinary. That is, they are comprised of faculty and students from different disciplines all united around solving a common problem. Each person brings with him or her a unique set of experiences and expertise, and everyone’s voice is important and influential. The solutions that come from these mixed-background collaborations are emergent – that is, they emerge only when different disciplines work together and do not exist inside a single discipline. “Trans” implies that that solutions being developed cannot possibly be contained within a single field – they transcend any one way of thinking.


Courses include collaboration among multiple faculty and students, and many are taught with external partners that may include industry, campus, or community leaders; experts in a particular field; or even faculty and students from other universities. By participating in UC Forward courses, students develop important leadership skills that are vital to future professional collaborations, including Conflict Resolution, Delegation, Project Coordination & Management, and Diplomacy. 

Solution Focused

In UC Forward courses, students play central roles in developing solutions to real-world problems. These solutions may include new products, processes, approaches, or tools, or they may include new ways of thinking or organizing knowledge. Regardless of the type of solutions developed, every UC Forward course addresses a real-world problem that is actually happening – right now – and that requires multi-faceted, outside-the-box thinking. These solutions help UC faculty and students leverage corporate and community partnerships to create innovative products, solutions, and new ideas that provide value to the global community.

Course Spotlights

The Gold Rush Mother Lode Expedition Adventure Race Documentary Series

During the Fall 2014 semester, the UC Forward sponsored course Gold Rush Documentary will once again be offered for enrollment as EMED 4030 Media Topics: Gold Rush Documentary out of the Electronic Media Division at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM). The course Call Number is 203293, Section 001.

This course is open to all interested junior and senior students from across campus, whether enrolled through the Electronic Media Division's curriculum or as an Independent Study/Directed Research from any student's home program and college. This year, the course enrolled 35 students from CCM, DAAP and A&S. If you are interested in signing up for the course, please contact Kevin Burke, Professor of Electronic Media.

Educationally grounded, professionally driven, and student-produced, the Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary project began in 2012, as a joint effort between Professor Kevin Burke of the Electronic Media Division at CCM and Brian Leitten, an Alumnus of the E-Media program, who now works professionally as a television and film producer and director with Hyperion XIII Productions and the entertainment network, VEVO. The documentary, shot on location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite National Park, follows one of the foremost adventure races in the world. The race includes fast packing/trekking, mountain biking, navigating, paddling and cliff rappelling and is part of the Adventure World Racing Series.

Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in Senegal, West Africa

This UC Forward course was made possible through a collaboration between faculty from Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, Africana Studies, Business Management, Marketing, the E-Media Program (Video Production), and the UC International Program.

Students in this multi-part course collaborated with outside constituents, including representatives from Aywa International, a non-profit agency in Senegal, the World Bank, the Peace Corps, and Open Road Productions, a local video production company. The inter-disciplinary teams worked on the development of a bio-fuel motor and attachments, a bio-fuel production system, and pilot farm site that demonstrated the growing, processing and oil extraction of the seeds of the Jatropha plant. The oil from this plant can be extracted to produce bio-fuel to run multi-use engines that can power implements. These implements can be used to fill a variety of needs, including transportation on land and water, tilling the soil, pumping water for irrigation, generating electricity, and – coming full circle – powering a machine that extracts more oil from the seeds of the plant. This project is working to enhance the success of the local farmers and the economic growth of the region. It will also help to preserve the ownership of family farms in the region, which are being rapidly bought up by large agri-business corporations, destroying local traditions and the Senegalese culture.

The course includes two 10-day trips (2013, 2014) to Senegal to observe the culture and conditions first hand which will occur between autumn and spring semesters. Students travel to the compound where the non-profit is based. Students will use that as their home base as they interact with the locals to observe their culture, understand their needs, and gather information for the design projects. Students will learn how to create a development plan, study and promote the pilot demonstration project, and identify funding sources for the non-profit and the implementation of our design developments.


Current Courses (Fall 2014)

Course Number(s): Course Title, Lead Instructor(s)

ARCH5051, ARCH7036 (005): Arch. Dir. Elec / Elec. The. Sem., CoreChange, M. Zaretsky and V. Garcia

CHE3010: Solar Power for Africa, G. Beaucage

COMM3031: Collaborative Leadership, G. Fairhurst

COMM3093: Applied Communication and Civic Engagement, M. Woeste

EMED4030: Post Production Master Class: The Gold Rush Mother Lode Expedition Adventure Race Documentary Series (Travel), K. Burke

EVST6025: Natural Disasters (Travel), B. Davies

FAA 2008, PSY 2008: Introduction to Art Therapy, M. Rastogi and K. Taylor (At UC Clermont)

FAM3097: Music and Architecture, T. Milligan

FASH2099c: Bonnie Cashin: Documenting a Fashion Icon, J. Krivickas

HLTH6050: Case Studies in Interdisciplinary Health Care, P. Breen and R.A. Van Loon

HNRS2031: Innovation to Inquiry, F. Russell, C. Christopher

HNRS2020: Exploring Leadership, B. Rinto

HNRS3067: Public Health in Africa, J. Blackard

INTB3060: Take the Challenge for Sustainable Development, Social Design Sustainability, R. Apana and R. Kamath

INTB3094: Global Social Entrepreneurship: Sustainable and Profitable Solutions to Global Challenges, C. Polychroniou

MKTG6095: Product Design Studio, K. Manning

MLTI1002: Community Health Educaiotn in the Criminal Justice System, S. Brammer (At UC Blue Ash)

NURS6001, PHRX8045: Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care, B. Brehm and B. Brown

PD2031C: Fantastic Flight, A Multidisciplinary Approach, C. Damschroder

SOC1099: Special Freshan Topics in History and Sociology

SPED1001: Individuals with Exceptionalities, H. A. Harte

"How do I find UC Forward courses?"


In One Stop, search for the "T" attribute in the drop-down menu. Can't find a course that fits your schedule or counts towards your degree? Ask your advisor for UC Forward course suggestions or contact the UC Forward office.

Why wait to change the world if you don't have to?