Last week, VentureWell hosted two faculty grantee workshops at our headquarters in Hadley, Massachusetts. As part of our most recent faculty grant cycle, we implemented pilot grant funding rounds that couple the funding with a training and planning component. Each faculty member was invited to attend the training and planning sessions to learn about innovative program design and best practices in their focus area so they can successfully execute their proposal.
Below is a highlight of both workshops.
Designing for Institutionalization
On Thursday, we hosted nine faculty from four Pathways in Innovation universities for a “Designing for Institutionalization” workshop. Faculty explored the paths for scaling and institutionalizing their existing campus innovation and entrepreneurship programs, and left with an actionable plan in place for continuation of their course or program after VentureWell funding.
“It was inspiring to watch them build their strategies to ensure their courses, programs, and co-curricular efforts will be supported across their campus for many years to come,” said VentureWell’s Victoria Mathew, who facilitated the workshop with with Mary Raber, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs for the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University.
Teams focused on crafting institutionalization plans, allowing faculty to assess their current courses and refine their engaged learning strategies. Using learning canvases and other guided activities, groups examined logistical hurdles, institutional obstacles, and formulated actionable strategies for program and ecosystem growth.
Innovation and Invention Education for the First Year Student
On Friday, we hosted the Innovation and Invention Education for the First Year Student workshop. Twenty-nine faculty from 15 universities worked on plans to integrate innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship curricula into courses and programs for freshman students. Faculty developed plans for courses, programs, and other extra curricula that introduce I&E into the first year experience and encourage creative interaction between disciplines.
Each of these faculty received a planning grant to implement their initiative and left with a clear plan for execution. Keith Holland and Justin Henriques from James Madison University facilitated with VentureWell’s Victoria Mathew.
Faculty exchanged ideas and shared first hand experiences during “Idea Offspring,” a speed-dating style Q&A session, to learn about best practices at other institutions.
These intensive idea sharing exercises resulted in course plans and other actionable strategies that will impact first year students across the country. “It was awesome to see a community start to develop over the course of each day, as faculty shared their best practices and provided each other with strategies and energy to overcome obstacles,” said Victoria Matthew.
By providing both the means and knowledge necessary to create successful innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) programs, we hope to improve grant outcomes, foster collaboration between faculty, and grow the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
VentureWell provides grants of up to $30,000 to help fund and support faculty with innovative ideas to create new or transform existing courses and programs to help students develop novel, STEM-based inventions and gain the necessary entrepreneurial skills needed to bring these ideas to market. Learn more about Faculty Grants and the application deadline here.