For Faculty

Course Proposal Guidelines

Expanded research and curriculum addressing Grand Challenges is a key component of the Twin Cities campus strategic plan—part of the overarching goal of creating a more agile, integrated, and deeply engaged 21st-century research university. Courses within the Grand Challenge Curriculum (GCC) address important global and societal issues through solution-oriented, multi-disciplinary approaches to learning.

GCC courses may be offered as freshman seminars or upper-division (3xxx/5xxx) courses. The table below summarizes key similarities and differences between GCC freshman seminars and courses. 

Expand all

Proposal Deadlines

Proposals for Spring 2023 GCC courses and seminars will be accepted through April 1, 2022.

Proposals for Fall 2023 GCC courses and seminars will be accepted through December 1, 2022.

Note: GCC Freshman Seminar proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. 

Course vs Freshman Seminar Comparison Chart

GCC Freshman Seminar GCC 3xxx/5xxx Course
Instruction Taught by a single faculty members (or more if desired). Taught by 2-3 faculty from different departments.
Multi-disciplinary Faculty intentionally bring multi-disciplinary perspectives into the course (e.g. readings, guest speakers). Multi-disciplinary central to the course and engaged regularly with distinct faculty perspectives and course material.
Curriculum integration Elective credit. May meet an LE theme requirement. Meet an LE Theme requirement and may fulfill major requirements.
Number of credits 2-3 3
Prerequisites First-year students. Sophomore, Junior, Senior, or Grad students.
Resources $2,000/credit to department of instruction, Instructional tuition revenue to college of instruction $12,500 course funds to department of instruction, $4,000 professional development funds divided among faculty, Instructional tuition revenue to college(s) of instruction

GCC Course (3xxx/5xxx) Proposals

Courses within the Grand Challenge Curriculum (GCC) address important global and societal issues through solution-oriented, multi-disciplinary approaches to learning. Each GCC course is co-taught by a team of instructors who bring their unique perspectives to the Grand Challenge.

Strong GCC courses:

  • Provide students the unique opportunity to observe and participate in conversations around the grand challenge that leverage the distinct disciplinary lenses and personal backgrounds brought by instructors and fellow students.
  • Engage students in group work and discussions to leverage the diverse student body. Strong GCC courses build the Classroom to Community Workshop into their syllabi (typically occurs in week 12 of semester). The workshop provides student groups the opportunity to receive formative feedback from internal and external reviewers.
  • Challenge students to grapple with issues for which there are no “right” answers.
  • Empower students to bring their perspectives and ideas in order to shape possible solutions or approaches to the grand challenges.
  • Allow students the opportunity to brainstorm, receive feedback and revise their ideas in response to feedback.
  • Align with the Common Goals of Grand Challenge Curriculum Courses

GCC Teaching Team Formation:

GCC courses should be taught by faculty and instructional staff who are recognized for their scholarship on the topic and their teaching excellence. Courses must be co-taught by at least two faculty from different units (preferably different colleges) to provide multiple perspectives on a topic. Course proposals are invited from faculty from freshman-admitting colleges as well as professional schools.

The multi-disciplinary perspectives brought by instructor teams are integral to GCC courses. Therefore, future adjustments to teaching teams will result in re-review of the GCC course. 

GCC Freshman Seminar Proposals

Grand Challenge Freshman Seminars engage first-year students in complex issues facing the world and introduce the importance of multi-disciplinary approaches. These seminars create space for first-year students to dig into the complexity of grand challenges while connecting with a faculty member and a small group of students from different colleges and majors. GCC Freshman Seminars prepare students to enroll in Grand Challenge Curriculum courses, where many of the issues studied and strategies learned will be further developed.

Strong GCC Freshman Seminars:

  • Provide students the unique opportunity to participate in conversations around the grand challenge that leverage the distinct disciplinary lenses and personal backgrounds brought by the instructor and fellow students.
  • Challenge students to grapple with issues for which there are no “right” answers.
  • Empower students to bring their perspectives and ideas in order to shape possible solutions or approaches to the grand challenges.
  • Create space for students to build relationships with the instructor and fellow students.
  • Align with the Common Goals of Grand Challenge Curriculum Courses

Additional Resources 

Expand all

Marketing Plan

The Office of Undergraduate Education promotes Grand Challenge Curriculum courses via the following:

  • Communications with collegiate Student Services offices to include information about the curriculum in their undergraduate communications (blogs, newsletters, etc.)
  • Minnesota Daily print and electronic ads
  • Undergraduate Update (regular email communication to all undergraduate students)
  • Advising Update (regular communication to undergraduate Academic Advisors)
  • Electronic screens across campus (Bruininks Hall, Coffman Memorial Union, St. Paul Student Center, and some academic buildings)
  • Custom-made digital flyers as requested by GCC faculty so they can promote their own courses
  • Collaboration with academic programs to code GCC courses as program elective credit when appropriate
  • Student stories

Instructors and/or departments interested in helping promote a specific Grand Challenge course are welcome to do so. Please feel free to utilize the promotional materials available here.

Student Support Resources

Red Folder

This folder is designed to help you recognize indicators of student distress and how to respond and refer the student appropriately.

Care Program

The Care Program provides coordinated case management, support and resources to students as they navigate the University and pursue their academic and personal goals.

Care Managers operate in a non-clinical capacity and do not provide formal counseling or therapy to students, but we connect students to the appropriate resources as needed.

The Care Program also oversees the Behavioral Consultation Team (BCT) by consulting and addressing reports of concerning student behavior and providing a coordinated response to situations arising from students who may represent a threat of harm to themselves or others.

Disability Resource Center

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) works in partnership with students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University to eliminate or minimize barriers and facilitate inclusion on campus. The DRC collaborates with all members of the University community to improve access for people with disabilities in these ways:

  • determining and implementing reasonable academic, workplace, and guest accommodations;
  • providing education on access and inclusion;
  • partnering with University offices to ensure meaningful physical and technological access

Nutritious U Food Pantry

The Nutritious U Food Pantry provides fresh and healthy food to students that struggle to get enough to eat. It is open during fall and spring semesters, but closed during summer. Any student can visit the food pantry, no proof of need is needed.

Other Campus Resources