Last December, a group of participants in Georgia State University’s EPIC Program were asked to showcase the preliminary research and plans for their existing Project Labs. The original six Project Labs were created as organizational structures to adapt long-term research and service projects into the undergraduate curriculum at Georgia State. The scheme forms teams of faculty with students, earning course credit, who learn humanities skills by contributing to multi-year projects. Project Labs form one part of the EPIC Program’s model for experiential, project-based, and interdisciplinary learning.
The 2019 Project Labs Showcase included presentations from Rusty Tchernis’ Homelessness Resources Lab, George Greenidge’s Greatest Minds project, and Maggie Renken’s Resources for K12 Families Lab. They range from established platforms – ATLMaps is the basis for Mapping Atlanta and has been curated collectively by GSU and Emory for several years – to new student-led ventures, like the Homelessness Resources Lab which is managed by student leader Josh Krivanek.
Inside CURVE, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s presentation room and collaborative workspace, students and faculty across majors and departments were encouraged to talk and critique each other’s work. A presentation was held to discuss the larger structure of the EPIC Program, which incorporates connected coursework, specialized advising, active learning experiences, and talks from experts with published work.
Students had already done research on their core targets for projects to benefit Atlanta’s history, homeless population, and working-class parents. All projects were in the beginning stages of multiple-year trajectories that will eventually involve the participation of hundreds of students collectively.
While this style of meeting is no longer socially responsible, the leaders and participants in EPIC Program look forward to the next possible chance to exhibit both continuing and new Project Labs.