As a project-based course, XCC students and faculty engage in projects with community partners to contextualize active, experiential learning while addressing a real-world challenge or enduring human question. Students rely on robust team and project experiences to apply theoretical knowledge to practical problems while honing collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.

“In all my years of teaching I have never felt as supported in my teaching as I have in this Cross-College Challenge experience.”

Janine Bempechat – Clinical Prof – Wheelock

As external stakeholders, community partners enable students to develop accountability for their work to researchers, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, alumni, and others for whom the students’ work will have an impact. Community partners benefit from new and diverse perspectives on their proposed projects and receive a deliverable (report, prototype, etc.) as the product of a rigorous academic process. In the past, faculty have often relied on their personal networks or fellow researchers to identify suitable community partners to serve as experts on the project subject matter. In other cases, faculty are matched with community partners who have proposed projects through the XCC website.


XCC is open to all full-time BU faculty from both the Charles River and Medical Campuses. Part-time and adjunct faculty may also be considered. XCC faculty model interdisciplinary collaboration within their sections and guide student teams as they tackle substantial real-world challenges. Faculty pairs are formed in XCC in different ways. Sometimes two faculty members express interest together to work as a teaching team. In other cases, individual faculty members are introduced to potential faculty partners from a different school or college who have similar interests. XCC looks to leverage the different strengths and disciplines of the teaching partners as the faculty team models the interdisciplinary focus of XCC. The sooner that a teaching partner is identified, the sooner the remaining process of course development can proceed.

Faculty do not necessarily need to have expertise in the subject area of their project; however, they ensure academic rigor and that the Hub area learning outcomes are met.

Integrated General Education

The Cross-College Challenge course is the only Hub course allowed to carry 4 Hub requirements. Therefore, the design of each section/project needs to be explicit about how it is teaching to these areas and meeting the learning outcomes. This needs to be articulated in the syllabus. All of the XCC courses satisfy the Intellectual Toolkit Hub requirements in Creativity/Innovation, Research and Information Literacy, and Teamwork/Collaboration. The fourth Hub requirement addresses Communication in written, oral, and digital forms, and varies by course number. The 6 Hub requirements and their respective learning outcomes are as follows:

Intellectual Toolkit