North Park University Announces Chicago-Based Learning Program Catalyst 606_ _ featured image background
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March 08, 2017

North Park University Announces Chicago-Based Learning Program Catalyst 606_ _

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The new curriculum redesigns the University’s weekly schedule to allow for faculty-guided excursions, starting fall 2017.

What is Catalyst 606__?

CHICAGO (March 8, 2016) — Catalyst 606__ is North Park’s Chicago-based curriculum. Students learn outside the classroom, exploring the city during staff- and faculty-guided excursions.

Innovative. Off-Campus. Hands-on. Credit-earning.

The Catalyst programs at North Park unite the city and students together in the form of civic engagement and exposure to current science and the arts. Dates and facts about the labor movement in a textbook become alive with visits to the historic Pullman Foundation; financial accounting becomes relevant in visits to the Loop’s financial district; economics becomes visible in a tour of manufacturing company; art and culture open eyes with attendance at operas and exhibits.

In addition, Catalyst 606__

  • is a Chicago-centered urban experience.
  • is intentionally intercultural.
  • offers hands-on learning.
  • provides cultural and educational experiences in the city.
  • blends theory and practice with applied academics.

On your Mark, Get Set, Go: Wednesday Afternoons

“Chicago is our classroom and all Chicagoans are our teachers” has been a long-standing North Park approach to learning. Starting fall 2017, Wednesday afternoons will be designated for exploring the city of Chicago. Students will have at least two opportunities per afternoon course to explore Chicago and enrich their learning across academic disciplines.

Catalyst 606__: Semester

For students who would like a more immersive experience beyond a Catalyst class, there’s the Catalyst 606__ Semester. Designed for students early in their undergraduate years, all classes for a full semester focus on the dynamic city of Chicago.

In a Catalyst 606__ Semester, students:

  • take classes together in a cohort setting.
  • share a common set of courses.
  • complete an assigned practicum experience with a local community-based organization to gain valuable work experience.
  • learn from the diverse fabric of the city through its residents, walking tours, museums, performances, and local dining.
  • investigate issues impacting urban areas.

During the semester, students will view the city through different lenses, disciplines, and perspectives, while they serve and participate in its flourishing. There is also the option to take other courses outside of the cohort to fulfill additional requirements specific to programs.

Apply for Catalyst 606__ Semester

Why Now?

A broad understanding of city infrastructure is essential as companies, government, and nonprofits prepare for a population shift to cities.

  • 66% of the world’s population will live and work in urban areas by 2050.*
  • Cities will grow by more than 2.5 billion people; most human population growth going forward will be urban.*
  • Hands-on learning experiences in the very environment where change is happening— this is a top priority and initiative for North Park.

What’s the Name All About?

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood has a unique story to tell. The “606__” represents the base of all Chicago zip codes. Every Wednesday, there’s the opportunity to fill in the last two digits, like the coordinates in an ethnographic map. Using these coordinates, students will learn from the city and contribute to community goals.

more about Catalyst 606__

*United Nations Report, World Urbanization Prospects


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