Catalyst Day, Ripon College’s public showcase of its new Catalyst curriculum, was held April 24.
Hundreds of faculty, staff, students, community members, alumni/ae, friends, admissions counselors, and family members attended Catalyst Day or tuned in remotely to celebrate the success of the first cohort of Ripon students to complete the new Catalyst curriculum and learn more about this unique approach.
Twenty-five interdisciplinary teams of juniors from the Applied Innovation seminar worked collaboratively to integrate knowledge and address one of five problems derived from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals framework: food for all, mental health systems, climate change mitigation, water pollution, and reducing inequalities.
Student teams presented their semesterlong work, proposals of an applied innovation, in conference-style format. Presentations ranged from “The Positive Effects of Bringing Green Plastic Products to Ripon” to “Reducing Anxiety and Depression Among New College Students: Easing Transitions and Improving Student Health and Wellness Throughout College” to “Advertising Caffeine in Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals to Prevent Damage to Freshwater Aquatic Wildlife.”
Details of the course, structure of projects, and faculty development resources needed for success were developed in the fall by a team of faculty and administrators, thanks to ongoing support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
Teams of students also competed in an Applied Innovation Hackathon, where they were asked to develop strategies that could be implemented by Ripon College to address rural poverty in Fond du Lac County.
The five-course Catalyst curriculum rigorously develops the 21st-century skills that employers seek while streamlining the path to graduation. It requires only five courses, for a total of 20 credits, culminating in a certificate of Applied Innovation and ensuring that students are able to complete multiple majors and minors, experiential study, and hold internships during their four years. Visit ripon.edu/catalyst-day to learn more.