Why the GEMnasium?

Growth - Education - Mindset

The GEMnasium, located on the 4th floor of Fitz Hall, is a collaborative hands-on ‘test lab’ that provides spaces for UD students, faculty, staff and regional partners to prototype new teaching and learning models for servant-leadership and social innovation. This integrated learning community is driven by cross-University “transdisciplinary faculties” that encourage a ‘fail fast, fail forward’ mindset around humanity-centered growth. The participating educators and students focus on a unified Grand Challenge, contributing their own knowledge and expertise towards a collective effort.

This shared space is the University’s first step towards becoming the first institution in the country in which every student will take at least one course on innovation, applied creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking. Through an experimental process that is mutually beneficial to community partners, more opportunities for undergraduate research and experiential learning is 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, address 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?

Our Approach to the Opioid Epidemic

In the spring of 2018, 250+ students and 18 educators, through 9 different courses, focused on one Grand Challenge: how to disrupt the pattern of addiction expectancy for the next generation. 100 ideas were presented at the GEMnasium's spring Summit Slam, and 7 deliverables were selected through crowdsourcing to move into IACT's summer Collaboration Accelerator program for further development. The summer Accelerator program produced FREEDOM ENTERPRISE, a workforce development strategy for recovering addicts and formerly incarcerated individuals that would provide a dignified process for economic impact through Dayton’s rapidly growing hospitality and service industry. This fall, 8 courses will continue to build on the work done thus far.

Key Components

Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Sustainable Cities and Communities

The United Nations Global Goals (also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs) are a set of 17 broad goals to transform the human experience and the health of the planet by 2030. The mission of the GEMnasium's pilot pays special attention to application of SDG(s) across research and application:

  • Exercise physiology, health and nutrition partnerships and experimental immersions
  • Exploration of applied mindfulness practices and models of meditative “play” and “making”
  • Special focus placed on children affected by addiction and new education approaches for continued, positive mental and emotional growth
  • Sustainable, small footprint living communities integrated with health-wellness organizations


Upcoming Events


GEMnasium Summit Slam

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A Collective of Educators

All of the faculty involved in this pilot project 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 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)

Related Stories
Experiential Learning 11.06.18
Perspectives from the GEMnasium: Lauren DeClark

Senior Lauren DeClark experiences the impact of vulnerable conversations and a humanity-centered mindset.

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Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT)

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2620