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Graduate/Undergraduate Collaboration in Experiential Learning (GUCEL) Program

The GUCEL Program encourages graduate and undergraduate students to work together on an interdisciplinary project, resulting in the creation of novel intellectual communities. This dynamic interaction facilitates the development of an intellectual community through the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to expand their existing intellectual community to include individuals from across campus, representing a variety of disciplines and levels of study.

Expandable List


The objectives of the GUCEL Program are as follows::

  • Enhance the student experience by contributing to an intellectual community and encouraging engaged scholarship
  • Encourage interdisciplinary and multi-level collaboration between graduate and undergraduate students
  • Foster a culture of collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and members of the broader community


As of Fall 2020, the GUCEL program has provided an opportunity for eight McMaster graduate students to take part in experiential learning through working with undergraduate students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Starting in 2013, all published ASP Annual Reports include a full section highlighting the work of students who have successfully completed a GUCEL project. Past reports can be found at

While we have increased our investment in the growth of the Sustainable Future Program and Minor in Sustainability, we have relaxed our focus on the Sustainability Internship Program and placed the GUCEL program on temporary hold. We plan to reevaluate these programs to determine if and how they can uniquely add value to our students’ learning experiences.


The GUCEL Program was developed by a past student, Melissa Gallina. The Program would not have been possible without Melissa and the support from the School of Graduate Studies. A special thanks also go to the students, staff, faculty, and members of the community who have and continue to support the GUCEL Program.

How the Program Works

Students involved in the GUCEL Program will have the opportunity to engage with diverse stakeholders and work within an interdisciplinary group setting. Students can utilize this unique opportunity to develop their skills in communication, teamwork, and time management as well as project planning and project management. Students should expect to spend 5 to 10 hours per week on GUCEL project work, including meetings, emails, and other relevant tasks.

McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office will provide guidance to students including support with project planning, project management, as well as individual mentorship and professional development throughout. The Academic Sustainability Programs Office will assist with the recruitment of undergraduate students and the facilitation of cross-campus and community collaboration.

McMaster’s School of Graduate Studies supports graduate student life and research training through the development and administration of programs pertaining to research and essential skills training for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate researchers. The School of Graduate Studies helps the GUCEL Program to connect with graduate students and assist with communication efforts. Furthermore, the GUCEL Program will work with the School of Graduate Studies to develop recognition for graduate student involvement in this experiential learning program.

In order to participate in the GUCEL program, interested graduate and undergraduate students must complete the following tasks. Please note that tasks may be completed in any order.

  • Undergraduate students involved in the GUCEL Program, will be completing a Sustainability Internship, with the additional collaboration with a Graduate student. Undergraduate students should ensure they are enrolled in a course that will satisfy their Sustainability Internship.
  • Together, the Graduate and Undergraduate students will identify a problem and develop a project idea to enhance the sustainability of McMaster University and/or the broader community. Students are encouraged to review past internship projects and/or contact the Academic Sustainability Programs Office for assistance with developing their project ideas. Please note that it may be possible to join an existing GUCEL project group.
  • Contact the Academic Sustainability Programs Office to discuss the feasibility of your proposed project. At this point, the Academic Sustainability Programs Office and the applicant will work to form a GUCEL project team.

For information on obtaining academic recognition, students can navigate to the tab above specifically devoted to Academic Recognition for Graduate students in the GUCEL Program.

Graduate students are encouraged to speak with their departmental Graduate Advisor/Administrator for potential opportunities to receive academic credit for experiential learning. Graduate students who successfully complete their GUCEL project will be provided with a letter of recognition from the Dean of Graduate Studies outlining the student’s accomplishments in the GUCEL Program.