Odyssey Project

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For the past four years, the Odyssey Project
has offered a free-college accredited
course in the humanities to workers and
low-income men and women in Champaign
County. Thanks to support from
both the Illinois Humanities Council
(IHC) and the University of Illinois, we are
able to offer students an intensive study of philosophy, art history,
literature, U.S. history, and critical thinking and writing.
Classes are taught by University of Illinois instructors and
take place every Tuesday and Thursday evening from September
to May at the Douglass Branch Library in Champaign.
Tuition is free, as are books, transportation, and childcare.
This year has been a signal one for the Odyssey Project.
After receiving over sixty applications, we were able to admit
a full class of thirty-five students in the fall. By May, a record
nineteen students received college credits and a total of seventeen
graduated making the Champaign Branch of the
Odyssey Project one of the most successful in the country.
Graduates from the Odyssey Project receive six transferable
college credits from Bard College in New York. This
year’s graduates are using their credits and the confidence
gained from the Odyssey Project to reach a diverse array of
goals. For some graduates, like Janice Walker, the Odyssey
Project has provided the last six credits needed to graduate
from college. For others, the experience of getting back into
the classroom has encouraged them to return to college after
several years away or to retrain for an entirely new vocation.
This fall, two of our graduates will be enrolling at Eastern Illinois
University and a third will be returning to Stanford University
to complete her degree. These are just some of the
ways in which the Odyssey Project is partnering with nontraditional
students to forward their goals and aspirations.
This year, we will also be offering incoming students
and alumni access to a brand new computer literacy program
during the summer. This computer literacy program
is possible due to seed funding awarded by the Community
Informatics Initiative (CII) and the Odyssey Project’s
partnership with David Adcock and the Urbana Adult Education
program. Together, we hope to provide an opportunity
for past and future students to upgrade their computer
skills and build a broader learning community that sustains
and empowers members of the Odyssey community.
If you would like to join The Odyssey Project this fall,
please contact Kerry Pimblott at (217) 244-3344 or at

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