Creative Inquiry Projects FAQs

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Everything you didn't know you needed to know.

FAQs for Students

What's in it for me?

A unique opportunity to follow your curiosity and exploratory instincts wherever they may lead – build, explore, and design things you’ve always wanted to. An opportunity to partner with faculty, other students, and partners with contagious excitement for what you are undertaking. An opportunity to take theory to practice. An opportunity to build up your portfolio of accomplishments – your “bundle of sticks” – so that when applying for your dream job, you stand out from everyone else who has a 3.8 GPA. An opportunity to change the world!

Everything’s been done before! How in the world do I pass the Five-Minute Google Test?

Yup – it’s hard. We take the Five-Minute Google Test very seriously but here are a few suggestions:

  • Discuss the idea with other students and mentors and refine it!
  • Combine ideas! (Read The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson)
  • Consider niche demographics, geographies, cultures. Instead of a new health-care delivery system, a health-care delivery app for homeless populations.
  • Do your own Five-Minute Google Test, but for inspiration and sparks of ideas or questions.
I am a first-year student. How can I sign up?

At this time, you cannot sign up for Creative Inquiry projects (or i2i projects) in your freshman year. Why don’t you attend as many LearnX, MakeX, SprintX events instead and build up your arsenal of ideas that pass the Five-Minute Google Test?

Is this open to graduate students?

Yes! The CI project can be related to, but also distinct from, your Masters/PhD research project. For example, it could be a new intellectual pathway that emerged out of your doctoral research. This is a great way to recruit a small team and try it out. Graduate students are expected to sign up for credits too.

If my Creative Inquiry Project involves human subjects, do I need to get IRB approval?

Yes! The IRB protects research participants…and it also protects your team. Going through the IRB process ensures that you think through every aspect of your study and do it right. You can publish your work only if it has been approved by the IRB…and we really want you to present your work at conferences and publish it in journals. It’s actually not that hard and we can help you with it!

Does money change hands?

Yes – to a point. We can provide a small budget for supplies and other needs (reagents, translation services, video equipment, rental fees, transportation, etc.), up to $300 per student. This is not the case in a traditional independent study. Beyond that, we will help you find additional financial support through existing Lehigh grants and research funding programs.

What can I use the funds for?

Things like:

  • Supplies (reagents, electronic components, post-it notes, etc.)
  • Traveling to collect data, meet partners, perform a play, visit a factory, and other project expenses.
  • Incentives for research efforts (IRB approval necessary!)
  • Food for meetings (when necessary and appropriate)
  • Hire a freelancer on Upwork or other websites. Use with care!
What can I NOT use funds for?

Things like:

  • Salaries or wages for yourself or your faculty partners
  • Domain name registration and building websites
  • Guest speakers
So how is this different from an independent study, really?

Independent Studies are of two types: For Type I, you engage in structured guided study of existing knowledge - you read a few books and papers, understand and analyze what has been done, maybe write some papers. For Type II, you take a deeper dive and build on existing knowledge; you create something new; you go beyond what is. The Type I independent studies are great! We are interested in supporting, incentivizing, and elevating the Type II studies that involve Creative Inquiry…where we go above and beyond what is known; where we take a deep dive and then leap out like a dolphin through the water…you get the idea?

Who selects the projects? How are projects selected?

Good question! (thank you) First, we will look at feasibility issues like the scope of the project (can it be done in one semester or two), resources needed (if they exceed our capacity of space or funding), and personnel (if more than three students are involved, then other avenues may need to be considered for the project; appropriate mentorship). Once we have checked that the project is feasible and aligns with the ethos of Creative Inquiry, our panel of students will do a Five-Minute Google Test. If a project is doing something that has been done before many times, or retreading old ground, then we will gently encourage you to pursue it as a traditional independent study. If a project represents a truly new area of research, exploration, and creation, something that has never been tried before or if it has been tried, has not been accomplished, then congratulations! You have a Creative Inquiry project. We are not looking to exclude projects, we are looking to include as many as possible!

Are you open to projects that do not have an end "product" for the marketplace?

Yes! We are open to all kinds of creative projects that pass the FMGT. Also, if your idea does involve a product for the U.S. marketplace and you wish to make money selling it, you should also reach out to the Baker Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

So what can I create?

A lot of stuff.

How am I graded? Is there a "deliverable" expected at the end of the semester?

Your grade will not be based on a series of exams, pop quizzes, 5-paragraph essays, or multiple-choice chapter tests. Early in the semester, we will work with you to identify your potential end results – where you think you can be at the end of the semester. Once those goals and possible outcomes are determined, then your work in the course will be evaluated on how well you have reached them, how impact-oriented you have been, and how dedicated you have been to getting stuff done.

Why do I have to sign up for credits?

Accountability and responsibility. Plus, the opportunity to leverage academic work into a real portfolio of accomplishment, while progressing toward your degree.

What happens at the Lehigh Expo?

A controlled explosion of creativity and innovation across Lehigh. And there are awards and recognition and free food!

How are these projects related to Inquiry to Impact Projects?

In just a semester or two…a thousand flowers bloom. Lower investments, lower expectations. Some could lead to i2i group projects…that lead to big impacts. Everything starts with a small idea, a little question!

Is this about the experience or the outcome?

It is about a phenomenal experience that leads to awesome outcomes. They are not mutually exclusive!

I need $6,000 to do my research. What should I do?

Talk to your advisor! You could still sign up – we will only provide $300 per student enrolled on your project, but we will connect you to other sources of funding at the university that might assist you.

I have never done 3D printing (or edited a documentary, or used AutoCAD software, or fabricated something, or worked with power tools, or programmed anything, or x, or y, or z) before. What should I do?

Be on the lookout for our “LearnX/MakeX/SprintX” series of events held at Wilbur Powerhouse and other locations on campus throughout the semester, where you can learn, make, and hack a variety of tools, things, and ideas that will help you accomplish more Creative Inquiry.

I want to build something on a 3D printer. Is this a Creative Inquiry project?

Maybe, but first you should attend a “LearnX/MakeX” event and print your idea. Then, when it’s more of a semester-long project, you can come back to us.

Does everything need to have measurable, tangible impact?

You shouldn’t have to ask that question. But since you did, the answer is basically, yes. You can come up with a new flavor of cupcakes, but preferably they will taste like hope and change or include a nutrient that can feed the world.

Can Lehigh staff members mentor projects?

Although faculty have to sign off on students receiving credit for CINQ395, you are absolutely welcome and encouraged to serve as a mentor or even generate a project yourself.

What if my project idea is tied to an existing faculty line of research?

This does not automatically disqualify the project, but we would want to have a conversation with you first. We cannot fund existing research, but if you have a new idea for your research and have 1-3 students to explore something which could lead to external funding, then we will gladly fund it as a CI project. Our mission is simply this: to support more creative inquiry at Lehigh.

 


 

FAQs for Faculty

What's in it for me?

Perhaps a better question would be...

Does this count on my PAR?

Yes – in the same way that supervising an independent study would count. Do you get paid? No. Do you get to work with highly motivated, awesome students? Yes! Those students take radical ownership of their projects, and you get to be co-author/co-creator on whatever value is created or produced as a result of the project.

Does money change hands?

Yes – to a point. We can provide a small budget for supplies and other needs (reagents, translation services, video equipment, rental fees, transportation, etc.), up to $300 per student. This is not the case in a traditional independent study. Beyond that, we will help you find additional financial support through existing Lehigh grants and research funding programs.

What can I use the funds for?

Things like:

  • Supplies (reagents, electronic components, post-it notes, etc.)
  • Traveling to collect data, meet partners, perform a play, visit a factory, and other project expenses.
  • Incentives for research efforts (IRB approval necessary!)
  • Food for meetings (when necessary and appropriate)
  • Hire a freelancer on Upwork or other websites. Use with care!
What can I NOT use funds for?

Things like:

  • Salaries or wages for yourself or your faculty partners
  • Domain name registration and building websites
  • Guest speakers
Who selects the projects? How are projects selected?

Good question! (thank you) First, we will look at feasibility issues like the scope of the project (can it be done in one semester or two), resources needed (if they exceed our capacity of space or funding), and personnel (if more than three students are involved, then other avenues may need to be considered for the project; appropriate mentorship). Once we have checked that the project is feasible and aligns with the ethos of Creative Inquiry, our panel of students will do a Five-Minute Google Test. If a project is doing something that has been done before many times, or retreading old ground, then we will gently encourage you to pursue it as a traditional independent study. If a project represents a truly new area of research, exploration, and creation, something that has never been tried before or if it has been tried, has not been accomplished, then congratulations! You have a Creative Inquiry project. We are not looking to exclude projects, we are looking to include as many as possible!

How are these projects related to Inquiry to Impact Projects?

In just a semester or two…a thousand flowers bloom. Lower investments, lower expectations. Some could lead to i2i group projects…that lead to big impacts. Everything starts with a small idea, a little question!

Is this about the experience or the outcome?

It is about a phenomenal experience that leads to awesome outcomes. They are not mutually exclusive!

Does everything need to have measurable, tangible impact?

You shouldn’t have to ask that question. But since you did, the answer is basically, yes. You can come up with a new flavor of cupcakes, but preferably they will taste like hope and change or include a nutrient that can feed the world.

Can Lehigh staff members mentor projects?

Although faculty have to sign off on students receiving credit for CINQ395, you are absolutely welcome and encouraged to serve as a mentor or even generate a project yourself.