Academics Creative Inquiry

Creative Inquiry

Lehigh offers many opportunities to pursue new intellectual, creative and artistic pathways that lead to transformative new innovations, expressions and questions. Students, faculty and external partners collaborate as co-creators propelling their projects forward on the journey toward tangible and sustainable impact.

Office of Creative Inquiry

The most impactful innovations often start with simple questions posed by curious minds. The Office of Creative Inquiry supports a wide range of initiatives that help students and faculty increase their capacities for independent inquiry, take intellectual risks and learn from failure, collaborate, recognize important problems and opportunities, and effect constructive and sustainable change. Learn more about the Office of Creative Inquiry >

Student holding mushroom

LearnX, MakeX, SprintX

Series of hands-on workshops where students have fun while learning something (how the stock market works, how to use a laser cutter, how to speak in public), making stuff (poetry, Halloween costumes, sheet metal roses), and sprinting through complex questions (How can we help refugees? What business opportunities might emerge in 2040?).

Sustainable Happiness Institute

An immersive hands-on, hearts-on adventure where students examine the science of happiness, global megatrends, sustainable development, social innovation, and life coaching to define their own pathways and imagine alternative happy futures. Guest speakers ranging from Zen monks to billionaires to jazz musicians provide stimulating conversations, and students work in small teams to define multi million-smile enterprises.

Data for Impact Summer Institute

Launched as a way to focus on impactful projects from all disciplines centered around data analysis, visualization, mining, and gathering, Data for Impact Summer Institute projects have researched topics ranging from the Lehigh Valley arts and culture scene, to Irish politics, machine learning, and pharmaceutical development.

Mountaintop Summer Experience

The 10-week summer program allows faculty, students, and external partners to take interdisciplinary deep dives along new intellectual, creative and artistic pathways. Members of this community of doers, thinkers, and creators encourage and challenge one another on the path toward excellence and impact.

Impact Fellowships

Three different Impact Fellowship programs provide students the opportunity to work on projects to spend one year working with faculty and external partners on interdisciplinary, innovative, impact-focused projects. These projects design, test, implement, and measure real, tangible, systemic change locally, regionally, and globally. Students receive 6 academic credits across two semesters and have the option of taking a deep dive during the summer as part of the Mountaintop Summer Experience.

Global Social Impact Fellowship

The GSIF program includes projects based in Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines, with potential future additions in Madagascar. These projects address challenges in the areas of health care, sustainability, education, and hunger. Learn more about the GSIF program >

Lehigh Valley Social Impact Fellowship

The LVSIF program supports projects that improve living conditions throughout the Lehigh Valley, from the surrounding neighborhoods of south Bethlehem to the cities of Allentown and Easton and beyond. These projects address social justice matters including policing, mass incarceration, educational equity, and access to health care. Learn more about the LVSIF program >

Campus Sustainable Impact Fellowship

The CSIF currently includes eight projects which are creating substantive improvements to Lehigh University’s sustainability practices. These projects address the full range of campus operational systems, from food and dining, to waste management, to energy efficiency, to transportation. Learn more about the CSIF program >

Spaces for Creative Inquiry

At Lehigh, we have a growing network of open and accessible Creative Spaces, often with associated subcultures, that support learning, research, engagement, and all kinds of creative endeavors. Learn more about the Creative Spaces Network >

Students gathered at Wilbur Powerhouse

Wilbur Powerhouse

This 17,000-square-foot “Maker Space” in the heart of the Asa Packer Campus gives students and faculty the tools and resources to go from idea to physical concept.

Inside Building C

Building C

The newly renovated Building C serves as the interdisciplinary hub for creation and research of all kinds. From its roots as the R&D home for Bethlehem Steel, this building has creative inquiry in its DNA, and now it is ready for use by next-gen doers and makers.

Sculpture outside Zoellner Arts Center

Zoellner Arts Center

The home for Lehigh’s departments of Music and Theatre and the LU Art Galleries, as well as a premier series of touring artists and performers from all over the world.

Programs and Centers that support Creative Inquiry

Academic programs, research centers, and offices support Lehigh students and faculty as they engage with communities and diverse partners in South Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, in local K-12 systems, and in countries around the world.

Center for Community Engagement

Center for Community Engagement

The CCE mobilizes university-community partnerships to address societal challenges, promotes knowledge and research for the common good, and helps cultivate engaged citizens. The CCE offers many opportunities for community-engaged learning, research, and social innovation. Visit the Center for Community Engagement >


Sustainable Development Program

The SustDev program offers academic courses as well as opportunities to engage in research, fieldwork, and social entrepreneurship in developing countries. Learn more about the Sustainable Development Program >

People looking at a paper banner

Humanities Center

The Humanities Center fosters vibrant intellectual inquiry and diffuses the energies of such inquiry into the broader culture of Lehigh’s campus. Visit the Humanities Center >

A student speaking to a group

Education Research Centers

The College of Education hosts three research centers—the Centennial School, the Center for Promoting Research to Practice, and the Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders—traversing the journey from inquiry to impact. Learn more about the education research
centers >

A student sculpting a head made of clay

Arts at Lehigh

The departments of Theatre; Music; and Art, Architecture and Design provide opportunities for Lehigh students to express their creative energies through performance, theoretical study, and collaborative artistic projects.
Visit the Theatre Department >
Visit the Music Department >
Visit the Art, Architecture and Design
Department >


Inquiry to Impact

Lehigh students receive a world-class experiential education that integrates learning, research, and engagement to develop skill sets and mindsets, confidence and humility, passion and grit for a rapidly changing world. Students build capacities for pursuing new intellectual and creative pathways and transforming ideas and inquiries into tangible impacts that improve the human condition.

  • Tangible Impact

    Addressing Global Health Challenges

    Over the past several years at Lehigh, interdisciplinary teams of students have designed, prototyped, manufactured, and distributed Ukweli Test Strips to the community health system in Sierra Leone. Now they are making plans to scale up so that these life-saving diagnostics can reach 3 million people in Sierra Leone and, someday, in neighboring Liberia.

    Person using Ukweli Test Strips
  • Tangible Impact

    Educating Through Virtual Reality

    Faculty from the College of Education and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences teamed up with Lehigh students to create virtual reality gaming experiences to educate K-12 students about the natural landscape that surrounds them. Through VR they can learn the importance of watersheds and other natural resources in an engaging, entertaining, gamified, impactful way.

    Person with VR headset
  • Tangible Impact

    Encouraging Sustainability on Campus

    The “Food Carbon Footprint” project is already having a direct impact on Lehigh’s dining system. The team is designing a carbon calculator for every ingredient and dish served by Lehigh Dining, ultimately to encourage more sustainable choices made throughout every step of the campus food system.