University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centers: Catalysts for modern education

Unlike dreams of rock-stardom or being a professional athlete that occupied many of yesterday’s youth, young people today are more likely to find inspiration in the success stories of people like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, or Sarah Blakely. College students are more aware of these mythic stories, and are eager and confident in their ability to replicate that success. As they look for a supportive home base for their aspirations, even during pre-college visits, we find them asking, “What can this university do to help me in my quest to change the world in my own special way?” Many universities have spawned innovation centers (with variants taking the forms of design centers, hacker spaces, maker spaces, entrepreneur centers, accelerators, and startup incubators) in an effort to address the issue. But in this time of rapid change, what needs must a university innovation center satisfy? This presentation will address these answers and more as we explore what makes a successful university innovation center.


Robert Grajewski, Vanderbilt University
Deanna Meador, Vanderbilt University

Track: Topics in I&E

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