Mountaintop Summer Experience

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What are Mountaintop Projects?

Mountaintop projects are interdisciplinary deep dives where faculty, students, and external partners come together and take new intellectual, creative, and/or artistic pathways that lead to transformative new innovations, new expressions, and new questions. We expect students to take radical ownership in their projects, and envision faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible, sustainable impact: impact which builds the skillsets, mindsets, and portfolios of pioneers and change-makers in a rapidly changing world.


For Faculty

Submission Process and Deadline

Proposals for 2023 Mountaintop Summer Experience projects must be submitted by the faculty member who will serve as lead mentor for the project. Staff members may submit proposals with approval from their department or stem leadership. Submit proposals in a PDF document, attached to an email sent to, with the subject line "Summer 2023 Proposal: <Project Title>."

Deadline for proposal submission is 11:59pm EST on 26 February, 2023.

Proposal Format

Proposals should be ~2 pages in length and should include the following:

• Project title (will be used in program communications and marketing materials)
• Name of lead faculty mentor (also the primary faculty contact)
• Names of partnering faculty/other mentors if applicable •Names of students are already committed to the project, if any
• Types of students who would be ideal for this project…majors, skill sets, competencies, interests, etc.
• Ideal location for conducting your work (if some form of in-person work is possible)...Building C or another on-campus location
• Special equipment or setup you anticipate needing for your project

• What is the dream?
• How will you pursue this dream?
• What is the topic/question/possibility/mode of inquiry you will employ?
• What is the project’s potential for impact? What might your impact look like? What disciplines, fields, or spheres will your work influence?
• How is this project collaborative, and what communities of practice would be involved in seeing it through, evaluating its progress, assessing its importance?

• What are you inspired by, what are you building on, and how are you standing on the shoulders of giants?
• What is the new intellectual/creative pathway you are taking?
• Why is this a game-changer?
• Who cares and why? What communities of practice are you contributing to, and calibrating against?

What are the Expectations for Faculty Project Mentors?


Faculty project mentors are not expected to “teach” in the usual sense. Students drive the work and learn what they need in a just-in-time manner. Faculty mentors, along with program leadership, will help connect students with the resources that they need to get up to speed in order to make appropriate progress on their project. In Creative Inquiry, students take “radical ownership” of their projects and are expected to make substantive intellectual contributions that could lead to co-authorship on publishable research articles, presentations at professional conferences, patent applications, etc.
The most successful MTSE and D4I students are those who demonstrate self-efficacy, an execution-focused mindset, strong teamwork skills, openness to learning new skill sets and mindsets, and a comfort level with open-ended questions and problems. The primary roles of the faculty mentor are to provide advice, resources, and guidance syncing up with the team on a regular basis (at least weekly) to monitor progress.