GCSP 301

Course Description

This seminar provides students with an introduction and foundation for the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP), including the Grand Challenges themselves, ethical frameworks, Responsible Conduct of Research training, and creation of an initial GCSP e-portfolio. The seminar will also help students to develop effective teamwork skills, including managing diversity and understanding implicit bias. Students will identify a particular Grand Challenge and focus area.


The primary textbook for the course is Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler (Free Press, 2012). The textbook will be supplemented by additional readings and multimedia materials.

Overview of Course Structure

The course includes three interleaved arcs: Grand Challenges, Curricular Themes, and Interpersonal Skills. The Grand Challenges arc explores each of the four GC areas (Sustainability, Healthcare, Security, and Learning and Education), using the textbook, Abundance, as the primary reading material. As part of this arc, pairs of students will present the main reading assignments in a short prepared presentation, then lead a class discussion on those topics. The Curricular Themes arc explores the five requirements of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program (research, interdisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, global perspectives, and service learning), augmenting the textbook with supplementary reading and multimedia materials. This arc will conclude with the students presenting their individualized GC completion plan, identifying their selected Grand Challenge and sharing how they will meet each of the curriculum requirements. The Interpersonal Skills arc develops important personal and interpersonal skills for succeeding in the program, and will be tracked and assessed through written reflections.