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Fostering progress through collaboration & innovation

UC Forward is a philosophy, an idea, a re-imagining of what a university experience should be. It is a one-of-a-kind teaching, learning, and research initiative—pairing students and faculty with external experts, all from differing perspectives—to solve today's problems and develop tomorrow’s workforce in unique and relevant ways. Learn more

I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward. David Livingstone


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.


Students enrolled in the course "Inquiry to Innovation: Burnet Woods" relax after a brain-storming field trip to develop potential student-centered design plans for the park.

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

COMING SPRING 2015: Inquiry to Innovation: The Future of Work

Sponsored by UC Forward, “Inquiry to Innovation” is a 3 credit hour, trans-disciplinary course in which undergraduates from different disciplines learn to collaborate to solve real world problems on and around UC’s campus. Each term, we focus the course on an important global or community issue. This spring, that issue is The Future of Work.

Learn marketable skills and become a leader in collaborative innovation!

In Inquiry to Innovation, you will learn techniques to increase your creativity and help you begin working and thinking more holistically, and you will gain an appreciation for opposing points of view. You will learn to network with partners and stakeholders and how to work collaboratively across disciplines to develop innovative and actionable solutions to complex problems.

What is “work” and what will it look like in the future? As the demand for technology and “knowledge-generating” workers increase, what will work look like in the year 2020? How will we foster and measure productivity? How can UC be the leading university for addressing the changing social and professional needs of the modern workplace?

All disciplines and majors are welcome!

Inquiry to Innovation is open to all disciplines. In fact, the heart of this course is collaborative learning and sharing of ideas and methodologies. Course topics could include innovation, collaboration, the concept of work, problem solving, strategic planning – just to name a few.  

Inquiry to Innovation-01

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.


Spring 2015 Courses

BME3050, BME5010, BME 5030: Medical Device Design I

GEOL6021C, GEOL6041C: Changing Landscapes: Himalaya

MLTI3065, BE9075: Innovations in Science Communications

NURS6001, HLTH6050, PHRX8040: Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care

PD2030: Inquiry to Innovation; The Future of Work

PLAN6099, SIAD6099, ENVE6099: Sustainable Urbanism

POL5035C, IT5035C: Cyberattack Red Team Collaborative  

Summer 2015 Courses

ANTH4039: Surviving Climate Change

"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?