UC Forward



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. We pose the question, "Why wait to change the world if you don't have to?"

UC Forward strives to:

  • Produce graduates who are sought after by employers for their value-adding contributions to collaborative problem solving
  • Promote innovation and ideation as core strengths of UC 
  • Support students who want to add to UC's legacy as a world leader in innovation
  • Create a clear and easy interface for students and faculty to locate and work with business, industry and community leaders
  • Provide a mechanism for incorporating innovative thinking into education and research in the university
  • Promote entrepreneurship, discovery and innovation
  • Develop graduates that work well with other people in teams of very diverse backgrounds


As we enter our 3rd century of teaching, learning, and research at UC, we must recognize the wicked complexity of 21st century problems. These problems are unbounded by discipline and require problem solvers that are able to function effectively across disciplines. By helping our students transition from passive learners into active practitioners, we prepare them for successful careers in the modern world and further strengthen our reputation as leaders in experiential education.

To accomplish this, UC Forward was developed in 2011 as a way to foster cross-college courses that unite faculty and students from different colleges with stakeholders outside the university - all focused on developing new ways of answering very tricky problems.

As such, UC Forward supports trans-disciplinary teaching, learning, and research - specifically experiences that enhance our undergraduate and graduate programs. All UC Forward collaborations are intended to tackle real world issues - some tangible, some not - that may include problems in health care, the environment, poverty, sustainable development, or even difficult theoretical or philosophical questions in art, photography, or literature. Whatever the experience, UC Forward courses put students in the driver's seat and pair them with experts in their fields to guide them as they solve real and relevant questions that require solutions unbounded by a single discipline.

So, UC Forward isn't a course, a set of courses, or even a traditional program, in the academic sense of the word. UC Forward is more a philosophy or pedagogy than anything else. UC Forward is the idea that UC students should be able to put what they're learning into action while they're still learning it and in doing so, develop those intangible skills like collaboration, leadership, and project management that you just don't get from lectures alone. 


UC Forward enthusiastically welcomes students from all majors, minors, and academic disciplines. In fact, this trans-disciplinary fusion of academic disciplines is a cornerstone of UC Forward.  We also welcome community partners – both private sector and public, large and small – to join UC Forward students, faculty, and staff in collaborating to address and unpack relevant, real world, and complex problems.