Freedom. Inquiry. Discovery. Purpose.

"This atmosphere of excitement, arising from imaginative consideration, transforms knowledge. A fact is no longer a bare fact: it is invested with all its possibilities. It is no longer a burden on the memory: it is energizing as the poet of our dreams, and as the architect of our purposes." ― Alfred North Whitehead

What does a 21st century environment for learning, discovery and engagement look like?

How should the development of the next generation and the process of discovery be interrelated? How should people in different fields of study challenge and enlighten one another? And how can universities foster these relationships in a way that stimulates learning and growth in participants, leads to insight, and enables action in a complex and changing world?

These are just some of the questions Lehigh University is asking—and answering—through its Mountaintop initiative.

Inside a former Bethlehem Steel research facility atop South Mountain, Lehigh is creating a vibrant and unique learning environment—a space in which students are given the freedom to pursue answers to open-ended questions while working in, and across, all disciplines. In the process, the students are challenged to increase their capacities for independent inquiry, for taking intellectual risks and learning from failures, for collaboration, for recognizing important problems and opportunities to effect constructive and sustainable change.

Call for Proposals

Faculty members are invited to submit proposals for the 2018 Mountaintop Summer Experience (MTSE). Read more >

New Leadership at Mountaintop

Khanjan Mehta, the inaugural Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry and Director of the Mountaintop Initiative at Lehigh University

Khanjan Mehta is the Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry and Director of the Mountaintop Initiative. Learn more about Mehta's background and the experience he brings to this inaugural role >



Lehigh aims to build on success of Mountaintop by expanding the program beyond the walls of the Mountaintop campus itself. 

How can educational systems help those struggling to start life anew?

Students from New York's Pratt Institute talk about their summer spent working alongside Lehigh students as part of the Mountaintop program.

Daily, I get to witness “ah-ha” moments like when a sociology student learns about the relevance of wind currents for our project or when an engineering student learns about the role of gender inequality in vulnerabilities to indoor air pollution."- Kelly Austin, Faculty Mentor


Media Coverage

Jeff Selingo [Editor at Large | Chronicle of Higher Education]
"There is Life After College"
(April 2016)

Association of American Colleges and Universities
"A Moonshot Approach to Change in Higher Education: Creativity, Innovation, and the Redesign of Academia"
(Spring 2016)

More Mountaintop Media Coverage >