The Odyssey Project in Champaign-Urbana

IPRH Research Prizes

Since the fall of 2006, the Odyssey Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has offered a suite of courses following the Bard College Clemente Course model. The Odyssey Project is a free, 32-week college-credit granting humanities program for income-eligible adults with limited to no access to higher education. IPRH is proud to partner with Illinois Humanities to bring the Odyssey Project to the Champaign-Urbana community. Through this effort, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign numbers among 40 major universities and colleges across the country each year that offer the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which was recently awarded the 2014 National Humanities Medal by President Obama.

The premise of The Odyssey Project is that a foundation in these core humanities courses offers students an opportunity to build their knowledge base and develop critical thinking skills that will serve them in their pursuit of higher education, workforce opportunities and a lifetime of learning-based citizenship.

IPRH is pleased to work with community partner Urbana Adult Education Center (UAEC), which hosts the Odyssey Project classes. For information about enrolling, please contact Odyssey Project Director, Samuel Byndom at UAEC (217) 384-3530 or fill out the Interested Students Applications.

Learn about becoming an Odyssey Project student.


Learn more about supporting the Odyssey Project.


Watch a short film about the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanties.


2016–17 Instructors

Literature: Dale M. Bauer is a Professor of English at the University of Illinois. She has written on Bakhtin and feminism, Edith Wharton’s politics, and, most recently, on Sex Expression and American Women Writers, 1860–1940. Bauer is the editor of The Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature (2012).

Director & U.S. History: Samuel Byndom is a native Illinoisan. He received his undergraduate degree in history from Millikin University and served eight years in the Armed Forces. After his departure from the military, he earned a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in teaching and another in history from the University of Missouri St. Louis. He has taught both U.S. history and English to traditional and non-traditional students at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Education Policy Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Philosophy: Malaika McKee (PhD, Higher Education Policy and Administration, University of Minnesota, 2007) is a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of African American Studies, and co-founder of De.SH(ie) (Designing Spaces of Hope). She also has earned a master of education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Awards include Diversity Faculty Fellow at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO and a Research Fellow at the Mathematica Policy Institute in Princeton, NJ. Her research interests focus on the intersection of civic engagement and higher education with special emphasis on the experiences of students of color.

Art History:  Adrienne Pickett completed a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Illinois at Chicago and master’s degrees in Art History and African Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently completing a doctoral degree in Education Policy Studies, concentrating in philosophy of education. Her dissertation research examines existential growth among lifelong learners.

Critical Thinking & Writing:  Jeremy Bohonos is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in Human Resource Development. His professional background is in career and academic advising of adult and non-traditional learners. His current research focuses on social justice in human resources education as well as on racial Identity formation in the workforce. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history which he earned at IUPUI and Ball State Universities respectively.

Learn more about Odyssey Project Opportunities in the State of Illinois.