Investigating senior undergraduate learning through experiential trans-disciplinary methods.


ICON – or Ideas Congress – is an alternative approach to enhancing the educational experience of senior undergraduate students at the University of Guelph. The program is a joint project between Dr. Daniel Gillis and Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (Department of Integrative Biology).

The pilot ICON classroom was originally funded by the University of Guelph’s Learning Enhancement Fund in 2014. Due to the success of the first ICON classroom (offered during the winter semester of 2015), the course was offered in the winter 2016 semester.

The goal of the project is to bring senior students from across campus together to work on one broad (social) problem. Multidisciplinary teams of students will learn Knowledge Translation and Transfer skills while sharing their discipline-specific expertise with peers, faculty members, and our community partner. The teams will develop innovative solutions to tackle some of today’s larger problems.

We are pleased to announce that the University of Guelph has provided extra funding to allow us to develop a fall semester ICON course (in partnership with the Feeding 9 Billion Challenge).

ICON I will run during the fall semester of 2016. ICON II will run during the winter semester of 2017. To learn more, or to register for the courses, click here. You can also learn more by following @IdeasCongress on Twitter, by liking our Facebook page, or by checking out the videos below.

ICON Team Members

Current Members

  • Dr. Daniel Gillis (School of Computer Science, Co-PI)
  • Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (Department of Integrative Biology, Co-PI)
  • Dr. Evan Fraser (Department of Geography, Co-PI)
  • Kelly Hodgins (Feeding 9 Billion Project Coordinator)

Previous Members

  • Tina Hobbins (Graduate Research Assistant)
  • Nic Durish (Undergraduate Research Assistant)
  • Dr. Adam Sparks (Graduate Research Assistant)
  • Jessica Nelson (Undergraduate Research Assistant)
  • Brianna Driscoll (Undergraduate Research Assistant)
  • Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger (Web Developer)