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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 Certificates

students in studio

UC Forward's Certificates in Innovation Transformation are cross-college (CECH, DAAP, COB, ENGR, A&S) certificates that bring students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to address common problems facing society, technology, design, and commerce. UC Forward certificates promote innovation through trans-disciplinary collaboration.

Certificate options

There are currently 4 UC Forward certificates, each with the same foundational learning objectives and collaborative spirit, but with different foci to fit the diverse needs of UC students.

Design Thinking
Engineering Innovation
Forces of Change

Learning Outcomes

UC Forward certificates help students learn to:

  • Build relationships and partnerships with internal and external collaborators, including local innovators, entrepreneurs, and policy makers and/or faculty and students outside their discipline.
  • Identify and explain the process of transformative innovation: Ideation, Commercialization, and Being a Force for Change.
  • Work effectively in self-directed teams, demonstrating capacity to lead, follow, and motivate others.
  • Appraise their own individual strengths and weaknesses in the context of multi-disciplinary collaborations
  • Create powerful outcomes through recognition of the role of opposing value systems and paradigms
  • Use creative problem-solving skills to address market and societal needs.

Structure & Course Load

Each certificate requires 15 credit hours of courses, including two introductory courses. Specific courses vary by certificate, so students should refer to the certificate descriptions for updated course information.


Students interested in pursuing a UC Forward certificate should contact Cory Christopher, Director of UC Forward., or call the UC Forward office: 513-556-3256. 

Local faculty contacts responsible for approving changes to the curriculum:

College of Business: BJ Zirger,; Tom Dalziel,

Arts & Sciences: Stacie Holloway,

DAAP: Steven Doehler,

CECH: Carlee Escue,

CEAS: Jason Heikenfeld,; Jay Kim,

Andrew Savitz
"The Certificate [in Design Strategy] offered me exciting and valuable classes throughout college. As a business student involved with UC Forward, I was able to work with students from disciplines such as design and engineering. This trained me to think and solve problems with different methods and perspectives.The open-ended classes offer opportunities to create something truly unique, for which you are passionate, giving students the ability to apply what we have learned in lectures to real projects. From completing this certificate, I am well rounded, creative, and better prepared to solve problems in the real world by thinking with different mindsets." - Andrew Savitz, Senior, International Business & Operations Management

Other Trans-Disciplinary Certificates

Critical Visions Certificate

The undergraduate Critical Visions Certificate is a joint endeavor between faculty from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The cross-college curriculum will teach students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media, and design practice and has two primary goals: (1) Increase students' understanding of what is at stake in how we see, including the social and political ramifications of advertising, art, media, popular culture, and science, among other dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices. (2) Develop new artistic, media, or design forms and practices that will intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Minority Health

Continuing demographic change in  the United States makes it essential that healthcare professionals and public health and human services  workers are able to understand the cultural, social and political factors and issues impacting the health of minority and vulnerable populations. Currently there are tremendous disparities in quantity and quality of life and access to health care services between different demographic groups in the US. This certificate will help students understand how such disparities arise, and will prepare them to identify and reduce inequities using needs assessments and by designing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and educational programs targeted to minority and vulnerable populations. The Department of Africana Studies in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Health Promotion in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services are participating in the certificate at this time.

Certificate in Medical Humanities and Bioethics

What is Medical Humanities and Bioethics?

Medical humanities lie at the intersection of human experience, medical practice and scientific technology. It refers to the interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary application of the humanities and social sciences to health education and its practice. It provides insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood and our responsibility to each other. It also helps us understand how bioscience and health care take place within cultural and social contexts and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness and the way medicine is practiced.

Ten courses make up the medical humanities and bioethics certificate. Three courses are required and the other seven can be chosen from a list of electives. The three required courses cover three basic areas in medical humanities: bioethics, the social/cultural aspects of biomedicine, and how rhetoric and politics influence health care. These courses are then followed by a set of elective courses, which students can tailor to meet their needs and career goals.

While the courses are listed topically below, students can devise their own pathways through the curriculum. In completing this certificate, students will enter the work force better prepared to cope with the often bewildering challenges that represent today’s health care industry.

Certificate in Historic Preservation

This program is designed to develop an appreciation for and a working knowledge of the issues and techniques involved in historic preservation. The certificate is awarded to undergraduate or graduate students upon the successful completion of a minimum of 27 credit hours, including a core curriculum of five required courses and an internship, and other courses, studios, or projects required by particular departments.

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