Transdisciplinary Experiences:

These courses will be facilitated by a rotating group of faculty from across disciplinary backgrounds, which will allow students to develop technical and team skills while engaging in complex, “ill-structured” problems, and engage with a range of topics that allow them to explore the intersection between human cultures (humanities and behavioral and social science) and technology. Students will be mentored by faculty members through use of modeling, critique, deep conversation, and just-in-time instruction.

As students progress from the first year to later years, projects and conversations will increase in complexity and depth. More senior-level students will have the opportunity to mentor junior-level students.

These courses will also allow students to develop and demonstrate competencies. Four levels of these learning experiences are proposed, loosely connected to the four phases of “Guided Exploration”, where students explore foundational competencies and breadth within reason, “Formation and Immersion”, where the student focuses on sense making, developing their personalized mission, and ethical decisions and actions, “Deep Immersion”, where depth among disciplines is pursued with learning in action, and finally, “Capstone and Planning”, where the student tackles a year-long complex “capstone” project, performs reflection on their learning, and prepares near and mid-term plans and checkpoints for future learning.


E-portfolio courses are independent study courses where students create and curate their e-portfolios under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students work primarily on their own initiative through reading, writing, performing experiments or non-thesis research, etc. Contact with an instructor may be one-on-one or in small groups and is generally only on a few arranged occasions throughout the semester to receive guidance or have progress checked to help guide the student for his or her immersion into specific disciplines based on the student’s academic and professional goals. Two levels of courses are offered: one to demonstrate developing to emerging competence and a more advanced level where the student’s portfolio demonstrates emerging and proficient levels of competence.

Description of Non-Course Requirements:


A central requirement for the degree program is the development of an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio). The primary component of the e-portfolio are links to a set of badges (built on the Mozilla Open Badge framework), representing a student’s proficiency in each of eight primary competencies: Design Thinking, Systems Thinking, Effective Communication, Envision & Work Independently, Social Interaction & Teamwork, Ethical Reasoning, Innovation and Creativity, and Disciplinary Knowledge.

Each primary competency is built out of a number of performance level sub-competencies. In order to be recognized as achieving the primary competency, students will need to demonstrate achievement of the associated sub-competencies at up to three levels: developing, emerging, and proficient. The structure of competencies, sub-competencies, and levels will be reflected in a set of badges, as shown in Figure 1.

However, students are not required to reach the proficiency level in all sub-competencies. By working with a faculty mentor, students will plot out the competencies required to meet their academic and professional goals. All students will need to demonstrate the emerging level for all sub-competencies, and the proficient level for those that are essential to the development of the primary competency, or emphasized within each individual’s personalized plan.

For example, achievement of the "Design Thinking" primary competency has occurred when:

  1. All performance competencies have been completed at the "developing" level.
  2. Problem Framing, Idea Fluency, Options Assessment, Managed Design, and one (1) of the remaining 3 competencies have been completed at the "emerging" level.
  3. Three (3) of Problem Framing, Idea Fluency, Options Assessment, and Managed Design have been completed at the "proficient" level.

This is a total of 15 performance badges required to earn the Design Thinking primary badge.

The schema is similar for the remaining primary competencies. Once students have reached an acceptable level of all sub-competencies, the badge for the primary competency will be awarded. All eight primary competency badges are required for graduation.

Primary Competencies & sub-competencies

Figure 1: Competency Hierarchy of Badges