Curricular Innovation

Berkeley Discovery champions curricular innovation beyond the Departmental Innovation Awards Program and supports other projects centered around students’ active learning and connecting classroom experiences with the world around them.  

Here are some innovative projects Discovery has supported or funded:

Photo of students in a physics class

Teaching Innovation Showcase

A brand new repository is available for inspiration and practical, actionable resources for instructors seeking to imbue their courses with high-impact Discovery learning. This showcase includes best practices from our Discovery Trailblazers and was developed in collaboration with the Center for Teaching in Learning.

A photo of the building on Angel Island formerly used as an Immigration station

A Year on Angel Island

In 2022-2023, a partnership with the Arts + Design Initiative and Future Histories Lab developed a model for campus-wide and cross-disciplinary engagement under a relevant place-based theme. This innovative project used Angel Island’s historic immigration station as a jumping-off point for connecting the efforts of diverse campus units exploring issues of global migration, exclusion, and belonging, including:

  • 40 affiliated courses from Art History to Legal Studies
  • Library research guides and student awards for research projects
  • Partnership with campus-wide On the Same Page event and reading series
  • Exhibits and lecture series at BAMPFA and Worth Ryder Gallery
  • Poetry series sponsored by the Arts Research Center
  • Music and dance performances led by world-renowned artists with student performers
  • Site-specific performances and art installations by students at the Angel Island Detention Center
  • Community partnerships with non-profit organizations
  • See these incredible projects and more at
Photo of instructors in a challenge lab

Challenge Lab on Democracy, Technology & Data

A collaboration with Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET) and Berkeley Discovery’s Yardi Scholarship Program will result in a brand-new Challenge Lab to be delivered in Spring 2025, right after the next Presidential election. This 4 unit class draws students from all academic backgrounds and features a rigorous, interactive, team-based, and hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship and technology.

"I now feel that I have far more tools available to me in order to progress in my trajectory."

- Berkeley Discovery Student

Creative Discovery Internship Stipends and Course Support

This pilot built a model for supporting students to pursue high-impact immersive experiences. The program provided undergraduate students livable stipends for internships in creative fields and was dovetailed with a professional development cohort to reflect on and make the most of their internship experience. Evaluation data showed that students' knowledge of how to utilize campus resources to support professional goals increased from 65% agreement to 100%.

One student reported: “I used to think that I was lacking the career development I needed to make my dreams a reality. I now feel that I have far more tools available to me in order to progress in my trajectory.” Faculty and staff can refer to our bCourse Project Site as a template and Internship Program Development Guide for building your own internship programs.

“Increasing my productivity and focus has not only impacted my academic performance, but has also leaned itself into my relationships with others.”

-Berkeley Discovery Student

Intergenerational Coaching Course

Coaching for Self-Actualization was a pilot course in Fall Semester 2022, and offered again Spring 2024 developed by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) with guidance and support from Discovery. The course supports the undergraduate students on their “journey of engaged creativity and self-actualization” through older adult coach volunteers, identified from OLLI’s membership and UCB Retirement Center/Emeriti. The course goals were to coach students in improving their self-efficacy, personal agency and resilience in a self-directed effort to move toward increased self-actualization. Students reported the course as very rewarding, as is shown by feedback from this undergraduate enrollee: “Increasing my productivity and focus has not only impacted my academic performance, but has also leaned itself into my relationships with others.”