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20 Colleges and Universities Launch Innovative Orientation Activities to Retain STEM Students

Twenty higher education institutions are welcoming their incoming students in a unique way as part of a national STEM initiative called #uifresh. Participating institutions are exposing freshmen to design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation in order to attract and retain more students in STEM disciplines.

From left: Michigan Technological University's "Chill Out with #uifresh" event, and James Madison University's "Madison Engineering Launch"

From left: Michigan Technological University’s “Chill Out with #uifresh” event, and James Madison University’s “Madison Engineering Launch”

September 2, 2015 — As this academic year begins, 20 higher education institutions are welcoming their incoming students in a unique way as part of a national STEM initiative called #uifresh (University Innovation Freshmen). Through this initiative, participating institutions are exposing incoming freshmen to design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation in order to attract and retain more students in STEM disciplines. Ten new schools have joined the 10 schools that committed to #uifresh earlier this year.

The initiative was created by the University Innovation Fellows, a national student organization, to combat STEM attrition in the United States. According to a report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, about 60 percent of students who arrive at college intending to major in STEM subjects switch to other subjects, often in their first year. The initiative was launched on March 23, 2015, during the White House Science Fair as part of a White House collection of initiatives to further enhance STEM in the U.S.

The University Innovation Fellows program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. The program empowers students to become change agents in higher education who help their peers develop an entrepreneurial mindset and creative confidence.

The 10 new schools joining the initiative are members of Epicenter’s Pathways to Innovation Program, which helps faculty and administrators fully incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education.

10 new institutions joined the initiative:

 

10 institutions joined the initiative in March 2015:

From mid-August to mid-September 2015, students, faculty and institution leaders at the 20 #uifresh schools are collaborating with orientation week organizers to provide learning opportunities for incoming students that are fun, experiential, creative and lead to increased engagement on campus. All institutions secured letters of support from their college and university leaders in order to join the initiative.

Participating schools are organizing a wide variety of specially designed freshmen orientation activities, workshops and courses including the following:

On August 17, Universidad del Turabo held the activity “Melting Pot Fresh Faculty.” Professors of freshman seminar classes were introduced to entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and the design thinking methodology. The goal was to help faculty develop confidence in designing experiences and projects to help their students develop skills in these areas.

On August 24, North Dakota State University hosted the activity “I3: Ignite Innovative Ideas.” Students relaxed on hammocks and discussed innovative and entrepreneurial activities on campus and in the community. They then took part in a design thinking challenge to create a best and worst feature or change to their dorms, which helped them learn to identify the needs of their “customers” and how their ideas presented solutions.

On August 25, William Jewell College hosted the “Creativity & Innovation Orientation Workshop” for the entire incoming Class of 2019. The first activity was a design thinking workshop to help students learn empathy, consider a multitude of possible solutions to a problem, and communicate and translate complex concepts into concise explanations. The second activity allowed participants to discover the breadth of innovation in the liberal arts, envision their college experiences as a blank slate and not a checklist, and think creatively about potential opportunities and their future.

On August 26, Michigan Technological University held the activity “Chill Out with #uifresh” with 1,300 incoming first-year students from all majors. The activity, which focused on ways to cope with winter weather, introduced students to the school’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and opportunities to participate in real world problem solving activities on campus.

On August 29, James Madison University held the “Madison Engineering Launch,” the official welcome for all incoming first-year students in engineering. The Launch began with several engineering-oriented games focused on awareness, communication and teamwork, all facilitated by a network of Engineering Leadership program students. The event concluded with a session focusing on reflection, departmental mission and values, understanding the freshmen class, and a design challenge bridging the event to the first day of class. During the Fall 2015 semester, James Madison also offers “ENGR101 Engineering Opportunities,” the first class in the curriculum, which fosters the exploration of engineers, engineering, and engineering work through student engagement on real community needs.

On September 3, University of Minnesota will host the event “Dare to Dream!” during College Welcome Day with all 1,100 incoming science and engineering freshmen. Participants will hear stories from upperclass student role models who are chasing their dreams as makers, entrepreneurs and STEM student leaders; learn about campus opportunities such as student groups, innovation and entrepreneurship activities and courses, and student leadership roles; and connect with their new, supportive community of peers, staff and faculty. Additionally, during their first semester, all freshmen will participate in a team-based service learning project in which they will be exposed to design thinking, customer discovery, and development of a minimum viable product.

On September 9, Union College will host an event called “STEM-UP,” where freshmen will take part in a series of activities including signing the Union College honor code, learning about current students’ STEM-related projects through poster presentations, exploring hands-on tools such as a MakerBot printer, and viewing an SAE Aero club airplane on display.

On September 10, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering will host “What It Takes to Work at Google,” where students will hear from veteran software engineer Baris Yuskel about his experiences at Microsoft and Google. The school will host “Casual Prototyping” on September 15, where graduate students will explore challenges and creative solutions through hands-on prototyping, as well as “Design for Change” on September 16, a design thinking and ideation workshop for students sponsored by Design for America of NYU. As part of the school’s Fall 2015 “First Year Dialogue,” all incoming students are reading the book Creative Confidence and heard from speaker Hannah Chung, co-founder of Design for America and co-founder and chief creative officer of Sproutel.

On September 12, University of Virginia has proposed an “Entrepreneurship Leadership Summit,” which will connect community leaders and students in design thinking workshops to create ecosystem-level change. Additionally, Fall semester “Innovation Tours” will expose students to makerspaces and resources connected with entrepreneurship and innovation. The University of Virginia team also held a series of “Innovation Luncheons” and the “Academic Innovation Symposium” in Spring 2015.

During the Fall 2015 semester, the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University is launching a major effort to promote the entrepreneurial mindset with the more than 3,000 engineering freshmen. The program includes in-class presentations and discussions about innovation and entrepreneurship as well as videos of successful alumni entrepreneurs. In addition, the program will give freshman teams the chance to collaborate and generate ideas to participate in the U-Ignite video pitch competition in February 2016. Freshmen may also participate in any of the six Aggies Invent events, a series of 48-hour challenges throughout the year, as well as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community and Pop Up classes.

Throughout the Fall 2015 semester, Clemson University will host DEN (Design and Entrepreneurship Network) Weekly Meetings. The DEN brings together students and faculty from any discipline to transform people and their ideas into entrepreneurial thinkers and companies. The goal of the DEN is to fundamentally change the campus culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, starting at the student and faculty level, and looking outward for mentorship and engagement of entrepreneurial community leaders and alumni.

During this academic year, Howard University will hold the “Introduction to Engineering” course, which was redesigned with the help from a National Science Foundation grant to integrate innovation as major theme throughout a required first-year course. The new course plan includes interactive presentations and related assignments that develop critical and creative thinking skills in engineering and computer science majors and promote innovation in design. Coursework includes exercises in ideation and prototyping, and students use the design thinking process to complete a major design project. Through partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, a three-week course module has been developed to expose students to topics related to intellectual property and commercialization. Some students from the Fall 2014 offering of the course have already launched into entrepreneurial endeavors.

During this academic year, University of Delaware will hold “EGGG 101,” the first-year experience course for all students in the College of Engineering. The course has been redesigned for this year to focus on the basics of the design process, engage students in project focused on the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering and introduce them to the basics of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The University Innovation Fellows and Pathways to Innovation Program are both currently accepting applications. Visit universityinnovationfellows.org/apply to learn more about the University Innovation Fellows program (deadline October 26) and visit epicenter.stanford.edu/pathways-to-innovation to learn more about the Pathways to Innovation Program (deadline September 21).

 

About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and the Fostering Innovative Generations Studies research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:

At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:

VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

 

 

 

Related Links

March 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20150323uifresh/

September 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

About #uifresh: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/uifresh/

 

 

White House Demo Day, Higher Education Commitment Letter

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2015

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

Higher education leaders send letters to President Obama

with commitment to expand innovation and entrepreneurship offerings

August 4, 2015 — In letters of commitment shared with President Barack Obama on the first-ever White House Demo Day, 30 institutions committed to actions that will expand innovation and entrepreneurship education offerings in order to enhance the economic potential of colleges and universities and better prepare students to create products that benefit humankind.

The White House Demo Day showcases talented innovators from across the country to demonstrate the value of giving all Americans the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas. The event was hosted by President Obama and took place at the White House.

To support this effort, the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) gathered institutional commitments to expand innovation and entrepreneurship education by means of a signed letter shared with President Obama on Demo Day. Epicenter is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.

The letter collected signatures from leaders, faculty and students at 30 institutions. These supporters committed to one or more of eight key actions aimed at providing students of all majors on campus access to innovation and entrepreneurship learning opportunities. These commitments include advancing team-based learning that tackles real world problems, integrating underserved populations into the innovation ecosystem, celebrating faculty and student entrepreneurial outcomes, and supporting innovative faculty teaching practices.

Schools included in the initiative to date are:

  1. Bucknell University
  2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  3. Case Western Reserve University
  4. Clark Atlanta University
  5. Clark University
  6. Clemson University
  7. Georgetown University
  8. Illinois Institute of Technology
  9. New Mexico State University
  10. New York Institute of Technology
  11. New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
  12. North Dakota State University
  13. Olin College of Engineering
  14. Temple University
  15. Tennessee Technological University
  16. Universidad del Turabo
  17. University of Alabama
  18. University of Maryland
  19. University of Michigan
  20. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  21. University of New Haven
  22. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  23. University of Oregon
  24. University of Pittsburgh
  25. University of Portland
  26. University of Texas Arlington
  27. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  28. William Jewell College
  29. Wingate University
  30. Albemarle County Public Schools (K12)

Five individuals representing Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows program are attending the White House Demo Day in support of the letter. There, they will share the initiatives they are collaborating on with their school’s leaders to address the goals put forth in the letter.

This letter was supported by organizations including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), Engineers Without Borders and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS).

Read the letter on the White House website.

About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and the Fostering Innovative Generations Studies research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:

At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:

VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

MakeSchools Higher Education Alliance Release State of Making Report June 2015

One day, I expect that Makerspaces will be as central on campus as libraries were in the past and as common as recreation centers are in the present. A Makerspace is a place for students to do projects. “We had no idea that students had so many projects until we opened the makerspace,” a director of a university makerspace told me. “Many of them had been doing the projects in their dorm room.” Now they were doing projects in a shared, open space, which was formerly an engineering library. A Makerspace may combine what’s available in separate spaces on campus: an art studio, a machine shop, a computer lab, or a bio lab. Yet because a Makerspace integrates rather than isolates all these different tools and disciplines, it is a new space where students can immerse themselves in problems that do not fit neatly in one field. Makerspaces encourage students to take the time to explore and experiment, to try things that might not work as they thought, and to give shape to their own ideas and share them with others. A Makerspace elevates practice over theory, addressing something that is often neglected in education — the chance to apply knowledge and learn from real-world, hands-on experience. This is how many of us learn best.

-Excerpt from Foreword by Dale Doherty, Founder of Maker Media

The White House announced today a “Week of Making” from June 12-18, 2015. Marking the start of the celebration, the MakeSchools Higher Education Alliance released today the State of Making Report, June 2015. Daragh Byrne and Catherine Davidson at Carnegie Mellon University prepared the report based on profiles contributed to forty higher education institutions regarding their engagement with Making. The report explores the institutional perspectives on and support for Maker culture, and in particular the approaches to education, community engagement and campus resources being explored on U.S. campuses.

The report is organized around six themes, one of which is near and dear to the work of University Innovation Fellows across the U.S., namely to Foster a Maker Culture on Campus. To quote from the report…

“An increase in disciplinary cross-talk among their students and their faculty is reported by institutions of all kinds. Whether it is between engineers and artists or business students and artists or engineering and nursing students, walls are breaking down between the silos. In addition, some campuses are experiencing a blending of experiences that move into the general education courses, thereby bringing traditional design activities to all students on campus, regardless of major. — A spirit of creativity and doing is driving the student experience. More students are getting involved in hands-on activities, and more are embracing a culture of “doing” that is active versus passive.”

Photo credit Ben Colman for Epicenter

Photo credit Ben Colman for Epicenter

“An increase in disciplinary cross-talk among their students and their faculty is reported by institutions of all kinds. Whether it is between engineers and artists or business students and artists or engineering and nursing students, walls are breaking down between the silos. In addition, some campuses are experiencing a blending of experiences that move into the general education courses, thereby bringing traditional design activities to all students on campus, regardless of major. — A spirit of creativity and doing is driving the student experience. More students are getting involved in hands-on activities, and more are embracing a culture of “doing” that is active versus passive.”

#uifresh Announcement March 23, 2015

Update on #uifresh here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2015
Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

University Innovation Fellows launch #uifresh campaign to attract and retain first-year students to STEM majors

March 23, 2015 — Today, the University Innovation Fellows launched a campaign to expose all incoming freshmen at a school to the types of experiences in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation that will attract and retain more incoming students in the STEM disciplines.

According to a report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology [1], about 60 percent of students who arrive at college intending to major in STEM subjects switch to other subjects, often in their first year. To combat this trend, the University Innovation Fellows program is partnering with 10 universities and colleges to launch “#uifresh” (University Innovation Freshmen).

The #uifresh campaign is being launched as part of a White House collection of initiatives to further enhance STEM in the United States. The initiatives are being released to coincide with the White House Science Fair on March 23, 2015, to increase nation’s stakeholders’ commitment to expand and enhance STEM activities. View the White House announcement here.

Fact Sheet Screenshot

The University Innovation Fellows program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. The program empowers students to become change agents in higher education who help their peers learn an entrepreneurial mindset and creative confidence.

The Fellows are working with their institutions’ leaders and orientation week organizers to provide learning opportunities that are fun, experiential, creative and lead to increased interest in making an innovation on campus. Fellows were required to secure letters of support from their college and university presidents in order to join the campaign.

Schools involved in the initiative to date include:

Many of the 291 University Innovation Fellows at 115 U.S. schools are working working to gather signatures on campuses in the coming weeks. In preparation for the launch of #uifresh at their schools this Fall, Fellows will work together to determine how the programs will be rolled out at their campuses and share best practices regarding the retention of freshmen in STEM.

Ben Matthews, a University Innovation Fellow from the University of Virginia, and Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the Fellows program for Epicenter, were invited to attend the White House Science Fair to celebrate the launch of the #uifresh campaign. At the fifth White House Science Fair on March 23, President Barack Obama welcomes more than 100 of the nation’s brightest young minds, with some showcasing innovative inventions, discoveries, and science projects.

To learn more about the University Innovation Fellows, visit http://universityinnovationfellows.org/. The program is currently accepting applications for Spring 2016; apply by October 26 at http://universityinnovationfellows.org/apply/application/.

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_feb.pdf

Update on #uifresh here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:
At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:
VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

 

 

Related Links

March 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20150323uifresh/

September 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

About #uifresh: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/uifresh/

 

 

Hypothesis Affirmed! Greenville, SC Ignited By Southeastern Regional Meetup

Last week, we tested and affirmed a theory. Our hypothesis was that we could bring together a group of Fellows with other college students interested in creativity, innovation and design thinking and replicate the energy of our Annual Meetup at Google and Stanford at a place far from Silicon Valley. We chose Greenville, South Carolina. Why? Because of our star University Innovation Fellows who happen to be in that region… Ben Riddle of Furman University and Bre Przestrzelski of Clemson University, and their amazingly supportive faculty sponsors Ross McClain (Department Chair, Art, Furman) and John Desjardin (Faculty, Bioengineering, Clemson).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicenterusa/sets/72157648089466547/player/

Ben and Bre’s work analyzing the Furman and Clemson Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem informed their strategic plans to enhance that ecosystem (Furman Student Priorities, Clemson Student Priorities). They completed this work last year, over a 6-week WebEx-based program to become University Innovation Fellows and, as part of their training, flew to Google Headquarters and Stanford’s world-renowned d.school (the Hasso Plattner Design Institute). Over three days, 88 Fellows from all over the nation soaked up the innovation culture in Silicon Valley and discussed ways to lead a movement in student innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship on their campuses (March 2014 agenda, and photos). The Annual Meetup was transformative; both Ben and Bre saw the opportunity to replicate the magic and attract peers on campus.

Again, why Greenville? Program leaders, over the year that followed, discovered just how cool of a community Greenville, SC is, as both Fellows reported back the success and overwhelming support they received from institutional and community leaders. Greenville has a strong history of public-private partnership dating back to the entrepreneurial Mayor Max, under whose leadership the city attracted a major Hotel Chain and narrowed a four-lane thoroughfare into the charming downtown Main Street filled with great restaurants, culture, art and more. So, when the pair invited Epicenter and its founders, Stanford University and VentureWell, to co-facilitate design thinking and lean startup sessions with local experts, program leaders enthusiastically agreed. Thus was born the plan for the…

Southeastern Regional Meetup, Hosted by Clemson University and Furman University

SEregionalsmallEpicenter organizers, University Innovation Fellow program leaders and Fellows flew in from California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York and the Virgin Islands. Fellows drove from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and even as far away as Michigan and Massachusetts! They were joined by 20 Furman and 20 Clemson students. All had one thing in common: a desire to learn the techniques of design thinking and lean startup, two approaches used to develop strong human-centered ideas and develop scalable business models around them. Using real-world issues from the Greenville community, students applied new-found techniques in observation, empathy, brainstorming, prototyping, customer segmentation & value proposition development.

Students developed low-resolution prototypes and articulated real opportunities to improve Greenville – a more friendly main street and redesigning the eating experience. Students learned by doing and they discovered that their entrepreneurial mindset could be honed on real-world challenges in their local community. On the flip side, community members saw students as motivated and capable individuals who bring a fresh-perspective and an open mind to arrive at highly innovative and achievable solutions to their challenges. One student openly remarked during the debrief, “I learned more this weekend than in the entire semester,” a sentiment often heard by many who first encounter hands-on and experiential learning opportunities. The mood at the reception with community and academic leaders was one you’d see at a sporting event, as evident by the Bear Ninja Cowboy video posted below. This kind of enthusiasm for learning can transform our nation’s higher education institutions. We look forward to replicating this success in Washington D.C. and at UMD on November 1st and 2nd, ringing in National Entrepreneurship Month with an invitation only Meetup for 100 University Innovation Fellows. More on that soon!

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Leader, University Innovation Fellows (on behalf of Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Katie Dzugan & Laurie Moore)

A Big THANK YOU to our Collaborators and Supporters

We are extremely grateful to the many local community members, without whom, this past weekend would not have been possible:

Design Thinkers Group USA, especially Joel, Marc and Susan, for their tremendous efforts in co-designing and co-facilitating a two-day experiential learning experience with our colleague Leticia Britos Cavagnaro from Stanford.

John Desjarin, Clemson, for his awesome giant room-sized Business Model Canvas exercise, imparting Lean Startup skills to participants in an experiential way (and his moral support).

Ross Mclain, Furman, for forging an unprecedented partnership between a liberal arts institution and a major research university (and his moral support).

OpenWorks, for being so accommodating and allowing us to use their open work space for our activities on Friday (see agenda below).

Greenville Health System, especially to Robin, for joining us to discuss what you should never do in an interview — and making it funny.

Clemson MBA at ONE, for giving us access to their swanky new space on Main Street.

Also a special shout out to Envision SC, the Spiro Institute, Ten at the Top, SCBio and all of our additional facilitators and guests of honor.

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

Higher Education Maker Summit @ ASU, October 23-24

The University Innovation Fellows are excited to take part in the upcoming Higher Education Maker Summit. The event is the inaugural convening of 150 higher education institutions that recently committed to creating maker spaces, as part of the first-ever White House Maker Faire. Once realized, these maker spaces will provide thousands of people  access to the tools and skills that 21st century makers, creators, inventors and innovators need to be successful.

Fellows attending the event will speak to student-led strategies they’ve employed to create innovation spaces quickly and cheaply to begin innovation activities on campus. Often times this programming and community building has attracted the much-needed investment campuses need from alumni and state sources. Investment in student engagement strategies has had a profound affect in creating vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. Attend this important Summit to learn more about strategies that University Innovation Fellows are employing to bring about these lasting ecosystem enhancements.

Read about our Berkeley University Innovation Fellows success in developing innovation spaces on this earlier blog post.

For more about the summit visit http://entrepreneurship.asu.edu/makersummit/.

– Humera Fasihuddin

A Quiet Revolution In Greenville, SC

A quiet revolution is taking hold in Greenville, SC, led by students at Clemson and Furman. Described by some as “A post recession ‘power to the people movement,” students are recognizing the gap between skills acquired at college and those needed by Google, Apple, Microsoft and other growing employers in the nation. The gap can be narrowed by hands-on and experiential learning opportunities. University Innovation Fellows have made it their mission to reach all students, across all majors, to join the movement.

Join us at the Southeastern Regional Meetup on Friday, October 3 through Sunday, October 5. And remember Fellows: we have your hotel rooms covered! You just need to get yourself there.

This event is hosted by the University Innovation Fellows in collaboration with Bre Przestrzelski of Clemson University and Ben Riddle of Furman University.

Forty lucky Clemson and Furman students will join University Innovation Fellows from across the nation in a day and a half of play that will ignite Greenville and the surrounding community.Students will participate in design thinking and lean methods on real challenges in the surrounding ecosystem that inspire their passion.

One lucky Clemson and Furman student who participates in the entire regional meetup will be invited to attend the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup at Google Headquarters and Stanford’s D.School in the Silicon Valley on February 19-22, 2014.

Fellows and invited guests: Register for the Southeastern Regional Meetup today!

UI Fellows Commit to Advancing the National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges

From April 29 – May 1, ten University Innovation Fellows (UI Fellows) were invited to attend the Educating Engineers to Meet the Grand Challenges’ Conference held at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to lend a student perspective in discussing how to better integrate innovation & entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary project-based work, service learning, global perspectives and research related to the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the NAE. UI Fellows made statements of commitment to advancing this on their campus; to hear their commitments, you can view this video. This is one of ten posts continuing the conversation about how they will achieve their commitments to their campus. 

Megna Saha is one of three University Innovation Fellows at Georgia Tech. She is a 4th year at Georgia Institute of Technology wiht a Biomedical Engineering Major and a Pre-health and Computer Science minor. For more on Megna, read her bio here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/wiki/Megna_Saha

Megna Saha is one of three University Innovation Fellows at Georgia Tech. She is a 4th year Biomedical Engineering Major and a Pre-health and Computer Science minor. For more on Megna, read her bio here.

By Megna Saha, Biomedical Engineering major with a Pre-Health and Computer Science minor, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

Reflecting on my commitment to the collaboration of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout all majors at Georgia Tech, I realized my whole institution is committed to this. This past week at the NAE Grand Challenges Workshop, we explored the pillars of engineering education and what it meant to prepare engineers to take on the grand challenges of the world. The resources and faculty support are here at Georgia Tech; the time is now to utilize them for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Our metric for success will be the engagement that students have to these resources. Currently, a design incubator open to all majors is being created with the mission to expand the footprint for innovation at Georgia Tech by implementing a multidisciplinary center for research and collaboration by bringing together facilities, curriculum, people, and outreach to the Atlanta community.

A space is not enough though; it is a creative, innovative mindset that the University Innovation Fellows are trying to establish at Georgia Tech. We believe GT students can change the world. Our campus offers many resources, and even better faculty, to help innovation and creativity on campus. We need to connect the GT community by creating an umbrella organization to help students flow toward these resources on campus, and create channels for student-faculty relationships.

Our program will exist to foster a passion and create sustainability for innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) among all members of the Georgia Tech community. Through the University Innovation Council, students and faculty will be able to grow the I&E movement on campus together, as well as facilitate other movements going forward. This means that they will become more reliant on, and trusting of, each other, and whatever their major might be. If both students and faculty are invested in the same issue and working together to make change happen, Georgia Tech’s campus landscape in I&E will continue to grow in the future, which will only perpetuate the success of the I&E campus and further interdisciplinary connections.

UIF Fellows, Georgia Tech

Rachel Ford, Alex Flohr, and Megna Saha

Fellows Make Statements of Commitment at National Academy of Engineering, Washington D.C.

Ten University Innovation Fellows flew to DC this week and made a statement of commitment to organize students on their campus to address the Grand Challenges. These statements were delivered at a workshop entitled ‘Educating Engineers to Meet the Grand Challenges’ held at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington D.C. on May 1, 2014 (apologies for the grainy video).

 

The meeting was designed to identify best practices for preparing students to address the Grand Challenges. The meeting included a keynote address by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation White House Office of Science & Technology Policy as well as panel discussion and breakout sessions with Academic, Program, Industry and Student Leaders. The intended result was a consortium of engineering schools committed to sharing practices for providing their students/members with an engineering education that includes elements such as learning through service, global perspectives, practical applications, entrepreneurship, and aspects of policy and human behavior.

Convening organizations:

National Academy of Engineering
http://www.engineeringchallenges.org
http://www.grandchallengescholars.org

Engineers Without Borders USA
http://www.ewb-usa.org

Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows Program
http://epicenter.stanford.edu and
http://www.dreamdesigndeliver.org

EPICS
https://engineering.purdue.edu/EPICS

For more information about this event, visit http://www.nae.edu/102159.aspx

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White House Features University Innovation Fellows

Today, University Innovation Fellows launched a new wiki platform at http://www.universityinnovation.org for students to share information and best practices about innovation and entrepreneurship at their schools. The wiki provides student leaders in academia with resources and how-to strategies for enhancing the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem on campus. Information on courses and programs also enables students on campus to find resources to advance their skills in topics such as creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, commercialization, technology translation and venture development.

White House Blog Mentions UI Fellows program and wiki.

White House Blog Mentions UI Fellows program and wiki.

The launch of the wiki coincides with the release of the report, “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus,” published by the Department of Commerce. Eleven ‘deep dives’ into innovative and entrepreneurial universities provide best practices for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting student and faculty entrepreneurship, university-industry collaboration, technology transfer and regional economic development. The data shared by the Department of Commerce report are now accompanied by 21 deep dives completed by University Innovation Fellows.

Celebrating the release of the report during the Presidentially-declared Entrepreneurship Month, the White House issued this blog post recognizing the University Innovation Fellows, Epicenter and the launch of the wiki.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, @ihumera

Senior Program Officer, University Innovation Fellows.