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Why the GEMnasium?

Growth - Education - Mindset

The GEMnasium, located on the 4th floor of Fitz Hall, is a transdisciplinary incubator for social innovation that has transformed learning for more than 1,400 students and over 45 educators across 20 different disciplines since its launch in 2018.

The participating educators and students in the GEMnasium are committed to a transdisciplinary approach: “An approach to curriculum integration which dissolves the boundaries between the conventional disciplines and organizes teaching and learning around the construction of meaning in the context of real-world problems or themes.” (source: International Bureau of Education)


Where It All Began: 

The development of the GEMnasium was led by the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT), with support from the Office of the Provost. Planning meetings with a transdisciplinary cohort of educators began in November of 2017. 3,280 sq. ft. of former storage space on the 4th floor of Fitz Hall was physically converted into the GEMnasium in 3 weeks in January of 2018. The planning team embraced the analogy of a neighborhood basketball court for the space, using it as a ‘playground’ for the mind and a place for a learning community to gather.

We wanted to create an authentic and immediate home for the  development of “transdisciplinary faculties” (Vision for the Common Good, 2017) that would deepen the engagement of our campus and our city through a real and needed high-impact mission. This mosaic of transformative teaching and learning opens opportunity to all campus constituents, particularly when the second GEMnasium opens in the Arcade Innovation Hub in 2020.

Through an experimental process that is mutually beneficial to community partners, more opportunities for undergraduate research and experiential learning are cultivated. This is accomplished through active efforts of teaching, researching and partnering with the core ethos of the University at mind:

  • LEARN (Teaching) - Prepare servant-leaders through comprehensive academic and residential curricula and extraordinary experiential learning opportunities.
  • LEAD (Researching) - Perform research that leads to deeper understanding, addresses critical issues, and supports economic growth.
  • SERVE (Partnering) - Engage in mutually beneficial partnerships to strengthen our communities in Dayton and around the world.

What happens when faculty create a space that encourages transdisciplinary collisions?


What happens when faculty create a space that encourages transdisciplinary collisions?

Year in Review

In December 2018, we wrapped up our first GEMnasium Grand Challenge. This yearbook tells the story of our first 365 days in this educational pilot.

View the yearbook (PDF)

Igniting Innovation

Here, we encourage students, faculty and staff to think broadly — teaching, learning and researching at the intersections of their disciplines.

Faculty Perspectives on the GEMnasium

A Collective of Educators

All of the faculty involved are committed to examining complex real-world issues from transdisciplinary perspectives, in a way that engages us with the ways of knowing and doing associated with other disciplines. This team of collaborative educators will continue to grow as the GEMnasium evolves. 

Participating Courses and Faculty, Fall 2020:
SOC 101: Principles of Sociology (Art Jipson)
UDI 372: ACT II (Adrienne Ausdenmoore)
EDC 532: Psychology of Learning Disabilities and other Exceptionalities (Layla Kurt)
MEE 431L/ECE 431L: Multidisciplinary Design (Eric Janz/Becky Blust)
MEE 460: Engineering Analysis (Kevin Hallinan)

Participating Courses and Faculty, Spring 2020:
EGR 103/105: Engineering Innovation (Emily Fehrman Cory)
UDI 375: GEMnasium: Accelerator II (Brian LaDuca)
HSS 341: The Business of Action Sports - Extreme Sports (Zach Sanford)
HSS 488: Special Topics - Controversies in Sports Science (Jon Linderman)
UDI 393: Community Service Internship (Castel Sweet)
UDI 372: ACT II - Innovative Practice through Creative Confidence (Brian LaDuca/Adrienne Ausdenmoore)
HST 485: Seminar in History (Caroline Waldron)
ECE/MEE 431L-01: Multidisciplinary Design Lab I (Eric Janz/Emily Cory)
SOC 342: Social Movements (Anya Galli Robertson)
REL 343: Theology of Humanity, Sexuality, and Marriage (Jana Bennett)

Participating Courses and Faculty, Fall 2019:
HRS 497: Human Rights Studies Capstone (Natalie Hudson)
HST 103: The West and the World (Caroline Waldron/Bobbi Sue Sutherland)
HST301: Historiography (Caroline Waldron)
MEE 312: Engineering Materials I  (Margie Pinnell)
MEE 431L: Engineering Design 1 (Emily Fehrman Cory/Eric Janz)
MEE 460: Engineering Analysis  (Kevin Hallinan)
PHL 321: Environmental Ethics (Zachary Piso)
REL 343: Theology of Humanity, Sexuality and Marriage (Jana Bennett)
SOC 101: Principles of Sociology (Castel Sweet)
SWK/SOC 380: Health and Inequality (Molly Malany Sayre)
UDI 290: ETHOS Dayton/Engineering for the Common Good (Kelly Bohrer)
UDI 374: GEMnasium: Accelerator (Brian LaDuca/Adjunct Faculty of Practice)


Participating Courses and Faculty, Spring 2019:
ENM 505: Management of Engineering Systems (Sandra Furterer) 
HRS 200: Introduction to Human Rights (Joel Pruce) 
MEE 460: Engineering Analysis (Kim Bigelow) 
MEE 460: Engineering Analysis (Kevin Hallinan) 
PHL 321: Environmental Ethics (Zach Piso) 
REL 363: Faith & Justice (Kelly Johnson) 
REL 367: Christian Ethics and Health Care (Jana Bennett) 
SEE 250: Introduction to Sustainability, Energy & the Environment 
(Rebecca Potter, Felix Fernando, and Mary Ellen Dillon) 
SSC 200: Social Science Integrated (Marianne Engle) 
UDI 372: Innovative Practice through Creative Confidence (Brian LaDuca) 
UDI 375: Freedom Enterprise II (Brian LaDuca and courtesy faculty) 
UDI 393: Semester of Service (Castel Sweet) 
VAP 320: Studio Practice 1 (Glenna Jennings)

Participating Courses and Faculty, Fall 2018:
CJS 408: Criminal Justice Studies Senior Seminar (Martha Hurley)
HSS 428: Research in Health and Sport Science (Anne Crecelius)
MEE 460 01 and 02: Engineering Analysis (Kevin Hallinan)
REL 367: Christian Ethics and Health Care (Jana Bennett)
EDT 415: Teacher’s Education Seminar (Jackie Arnold)
SSC 200: Social Science Integrated (Rae Oh)
UDI 374: Freedom Enterprise (Susie LaDuca, Andrew and Lauren White, Charlie Carroll, Mallory Redmond, Chris Harrison, Chris Dimmick)
UDI 393: Semester of Service (Castel Sweet)

Participating Courses and Faculty, Spring 2018:
HSS 428 Health and Sport Science Research Capstone (Anne Crecelius)
IET 323 Project Management (Philip Appiah-Kubi and Becky Blust)
MEE 460 Engineering Analysis (Kevin Hallinan)
UDI 372 ACT II: Innovative Practice Through Creative Confidence (Brian LaDuca)
UDI 393 Semester of Service mini course (Castel Sweet)
THR 352 Applied Theatre (Jerome Yorke and Michelle Hayford)
EDT 453 Literacy in Early Childhood (Jackie Arnold)
EDT 436 EAS Capstone (Connie Bowman)
REL 367 Christian Ethics and Health Care (Jana Bennett)

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Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT)

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2620