By Steven Schultz – January marked the grand opening of the new Idea X-Change on the first floor of historic Jewell Hall. The IDEA X-Change is part of a campus-wide initiative to develop a sustainable environment of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship funded by a $500,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
“William Jewell has a long history of providing a liberal arts education that develops entrepreneurial characteristics such as independent thinking, opportunity recognition, challenging assumptions and innovation needed in today’s marketplace,” said Dr. Kelli Schutte, Department of Business and Leadership chair. “This Kauffman grant is allowing Jewell to develop an integrated culture that infuses innovative thinking across the disciplines.”
The IDEA X-Change is quickly becoming a hub of activity for students and faculty from all disciplines who are interested in cultivating new ideas and exploring the launch of new ventures. Guided and encouraged by Director of Creativity and Innovation Landon Young, students and faculty are participating in a quickly expanding array of initiatives designed to facilitate research, teach and infuse entrepreneurship and innovative thinking into the curriculum across campus. Experiential activities and developmental grants help students explore and execute their entrepreneurial ideas.
Since the opening of the IDEA X-Change in January, Jewell student and faculty teams have participated in Lean Startup competitions sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Google Fiber, winning first and second place among entries from seven other regional teams.
WJC hosted the first Innovations in Student Learning Symposium January 14, 15, and 16. During the symposium administrators and faculty from all disciplines explored ideas for improving the learning experience at Jewell. The symposium included many hands-on sessions in which participants proposed new ideas concerning issues from the credit hour to classroom arrangement and e-learning. Several ideas were selected to form teams around and, at the end of the symposium, the best ideas and teams received the resources needed to move from idea to reality on campus.
A new course is in development (Creativity Practicum) and has been submitted to the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee for review and comment. The course is scheduled to be offered in fall 2014.
The student Entrepreneurial Society, originally founded as a club in 2012, has been officially recognized as a campus organization and an entrepreneurship mentor program is in development.