Grand Challenges are broad conceptual issues that span disciplines, colleges, and units, and are intended to help focus thought and analysis around central themes. The Grand Challenges help Mercer students think about significant questions such as the following:
What makes us good? What is our obligation to the common good? How can we examine what we know? What is the value of research? Why do the student learning outcomes in the pyramid matter? What is my niche in helping humanity?
Three Grand Challenge topics were chosen for the Mercer QEP, and the following rotation schedule will be implemented.
Academic year 2015-2016 and 2018-2019
Academic year 2016-2017 and 2019-2020
Academic year 2017-2018 and 2020-2021 (optional)
Why Grand Challenges?
This concept is prevalent in national engineering education and has been adopted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative and by the White House in its 21st Century Grand Challenges, an element in the President's Strategy for American Innovation. According to the National Academy of Engineering, "Grand Challenges are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society's attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life." Mercer uses Grand Challenges as a thematic focus that unifies Research that Reaches Out across colleges and schools, providing connecting points for curricular and co-curricular activities.