A generous gift to the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has made possible the creation of a new, interdisciplinary course called City Lab. The gift to SCS comes from the SPIRE Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to unlock the full potential of the human spirit via athletics, academics and service at its state-of-the-art facilities in Geneva, Ohio.

Robert L. Manuel, Ph.D., associate provost and dean of the School of Continuing Studies remarked, “The gift from SPIRE has provided us with the funds needed to create and carry out City Lab, an applied interdisciplinary course that convenes students from across the School’s programs.”

City Lab is a new course at the School that brings theory to practice with an educational experience that takes students from the classroom in Washington, D.C. to the SPIRE facilities in Geneva, Ohio, a “living learning laboratory.” The course offers an opportunity for students to work collaboratively on solving multiple urban challenges facing city agencies in Geneva, bringing together the skills and talent from various disciplines and fields. Through individual assignments and a culminating group project, students will collaborate with city officials and industry professionals to address various dimensions of real-world problems. They will then have the opportunity to propose real solutions to these problems, impacting not only the city of Geneva but also the disciplines they represent.

“City Lab is rethinking how education applies to and impacts the real world. Our relationship with SPIRE makes possible this window into the future of clinical and interdisciplinary study,” said Dean Manuel.

The fall 2011 course roster brings together students and faculty from many SCS programs, including the master’s programs in human resources management, public relations & corporate communications, real estate, and technology management, as well as the bachelor’s and master’s programs in liberal studies. The linkages between course curriculum and the programs represented will be exemplified through the work of students, demonstrating how the School is reinvigorating higher education.

Ron Clutter, founder and CEO of SPIRE Institute said, “City Lab is one of the first educational experiences that SPIRE is involved with. I am excited by its potential to truly impact the community of Geneva and our Northeast Ohio Region.” Clutter originally created and built the SPIRE Institute as a way to give back to his community after a successful career as an entrepreneur and businessman.

Georgetown’s SCS is the official educational partner for the SPIRE Institute, providing expert resources, faculty and curriculum to advance the shared purpose of impacting the communities served by both institutions, respectively.

The City Lab course began on September 1 and students have taken their first of three trips to the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. To find out more about SCS, please visit scs.georgetown.edu/about-scs. To find out more about the SPIRE Institute, please visit spireinstitute.org.