In Fall 2023, the University of Arizona W.A. Franke Honors College will launch the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) degree, inspired by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This transdisciplinary degree can be combined with a range of degrees to examine design-led innovation through a future facing and industry engaged curriculum.
The UArizona BCII will augment students’ core degree skills through the exploration of critical and creative thinking in collaboration with students from a range of other disciplines including science, design, health, information technology, social sciences, business, engineering, and law. In this unique learning environment, students will examine transdisciplinary perspectives for strengthening innovation and complex problem solving involving multiple industries.
Courses will empower students to innovate and experience rather than observe and absorb; they favor hackathons, think tanks, and creative labs over lectures and tutorials. At UTS, this educational model has been incredibly successful, with graduates in high demand across all industries, establishing successful start-ups or progressing to research degrees. The award-winning degree and its proven graduate outcomes are already driving strong interest here in Arizona.
Dean of the Honors College John Pollard welcomed UTS faculty to campus in May announcing that 48 students had already registered for the BCII’s first course, “The demand has shown how powerful this program is going to be for our students,” he said. “This program is going to take faculty from across campus and along all disciplines working alongside the UTS faculty to realize this amazing curriculum.”
Uniquely positioned to bring students from all colleges at UArizona together for a transdisciplinary degree, the Honors College will launch the program with guest UTS lecturers teaching the first round of courses. The tuition for the inaugural course Problems to Possibilities will be covered by the Honors College and the Office of the Provost, and plans are pending to offer additional funding opportunities for future BCII student projects.
Part of the Australian Technology Network of universities, UTS has evolved into a world leading institution, moving recently into the top 100 global universities in the QS World University Rankings. The success of the BCII has been instrumental for the institution’s reputational enhancement and driven international interest and engagement, such as with UArizona.
“When the opportunity arose to basically go forth and see whether the BCII would work somewhere else - it was very much in the spirit of innovation from a transdisciplinary degree. It is delightful to see that it has come to fruition,” said UTS Vice-Chancellor and President Andrew Parfitt. “It has landed in a place that is passionate about it.”
Former UArizona Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Liesl Folks stated, “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with UTS and have been designated as a Key Technology Partner. The BCII is one more step in building a stronger partnership between the two institutions.”
UArizona has been a Key Technology Partner with UTS since 2016 developing many significant research projects. In addition to an active student exchange partnership, the universities collaborate in many areas including Environmental Science, Law, Indigenous Studies, Health, and IT.
The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2019 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $734 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually.
The University of Technology Sydney
With an enrollment of over 44,000 students, the University of Technology Sydney is one of the largest universities in Australia. The campus is in the heart of Sydney's creative and digital precinct and alongside Sydney's central business district. As part of their degree program, students also have the opportunity to study at one of more than 185 universities in about 40 countries with which UTS has exchange agreements. UTS currently maintains 17 university level Key Technology Partnerships with leading universities in China, India, Europe, and the Americas. The university’s purpose is to advance knowledge and learning through research-inspired teaching, research with impact and partnerships with industry, the professions and the community.