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Independent Project

Engaging with the World

Independent Project

desk cluttered with paper and pens

In this experience, students design and conduct original research projects that produce novel knowledge or other outputs, ideally for a community partner who has collaborated with the student. This experience is an exciting way for students to self-direct their own learning and manage their own project in which they delve into a topic of interest to them. It can hone their ability to do rigorous, place-based, use-inspired sustainability research, as well as produce products and experience that students can use to market themselves in job interviews and other applications. The experience requires instructors to take on a coaching and coordination role.

Example Learning Outcome: Strategic Thinking

Determine ways to accomplish a novel, valid, and salient knowledge and/or a product with real-world value that has a life after the research project is completed.

Featured Real-World Example

Student films in Peter Byck’s “Sustainability Storytelling” classes.

In this film, Beyond the Grid, students had to take multiple trips to the Navajo Nation to conduct research and engage with stakeholders about access, utilities, and solar power.