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Elon University

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Elon University is a selective, mid-sized private university in Elon, North Carolina. Elon is renowned as a national model for engaged and experiential learning across its five schools; Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communications, the School of Education, the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Law.  The curriculum is grounded in the traditional liberal arts and sciences and complemented by nationally accredited professional and graduate programs. Students work closely with faculty who are dedicated to excellent teaching and scholarship.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Elon currently offers a major and a minor in entrepreneurship through the Doherty center, which prepares students to become entrepreneurs in either for-profit businesses or social businesses. While this helps, it is not enough. The business school alone seems to have a monopoly on entrepreneurship and there is not enough interdisciplinary application of design thinking and innovation. Our promotion of I&E seeks to inspire students to create and change the world around them in a variety of majors, requiring widespread faculty support and appeals to creativity that match all kinds of students.

Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Many faculty members within Elon University are very innovative and entrepreneurial in the way in which they approach their independent research projects and publications, yet it does not seem as though the students or community are always informed about their accomplishments. In order to encourage our faculty members to continue being innovative and entrepreneurial we must reward them for what they are already doing.

Actively Support the University Technology Transfer Function

Although we do not have anything on campus right now that falls into this category. One of our prototypes involves the addition of a new office to the "Instructional & Campus Technologies", which is going to be called "Protection for You". The office will work on informing students and faculty on patents, copyrights, and trademarks. What they are? How they can be obtained? What are external resources that can be used? In addition, the offcie will simply answer any questions students might have or guide students into the proper direction if they did not have the answers. 

Facilitating University - Industry Collaboration

Elon is located in the Triad and is very close to the Research Triangle. Our Student Professional Development Center works to connect students with businesses in both of these areas. We also have large job and internship fairs that bring in startups and large companies like Deloitte and Oracle. These programs are very common among most schools and we are currently working to expand them. Because of the many other schools in the area with strong research focuses it is difficult to attract larger research projects but there are some smaller companies that we have been able to work with. Our Environmental Department has been involved with doing some really neat testing for products that will be sold to Kobalt and there are many other projects taking place within our other departments.
As a Leadership Circle this is an area I think we could improve in. To do this we will need to reach out to many of the local companies to see what types of projects and research they might need validated. Because we are such a small school compared to schools like NC State there are some smaller projects that we could work on that would be very helpful to those businesses. The first step for us will be getting involved with the Chamber of Commerce.

Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Elon has made a lot of progress in this area and our plans are to continue to make huge leaps and bounds here. The town of Elon and the surrounding area were hit hard when the textile companies left. Over the next 20 years our university has major priorities to help build up the areas around Elon and create an environment that will bring in more business and attract students and faculty. We have also invested in offices in downtown Burlington and Greensboro that are specifically geared toward community engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurship. These efforts are only possible with the support of the entire university so we plan to help out in whatever way we can. Initially it will be important to do surveys and studies on other universities that have accomplished similar goals. One example that we have looked at is Duke University, which has helped transform Durham over the years.

Next Steps

Interdisciplinary innovation (not just through business school)

  • Creating I&E culture (forums, speakers, discussions, LLC, awards, more student businesses, etc.)
  • Marketing (using Pendulum, career fair, and likely social media to advertise our events)
  • Identifying all possible sources that can stimulate innovation (for funding, advice, etc.)

Since Elon is essentially starting from "stage 1," we must do everything we can to get more students to start businesses, non-profits, organizations, etc. and truly ingrain creativity into our culture.

Elon University Landscape Canvas



Related Links

Elon University

Elon University Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

Fall 2018: Gillian HookSydney Thornton

Spring 2018: Yousaf KhanRegan O'DonnellNoor IrshaidatHaley Brengartner 

Spring 2017: Josh CadoretteBriana BradyJames SetzerNick Smith

Spring 2016: Elizabeth JordanGabrielle VanceSean WebberKyle McKinleyWilliam Kakavas

Spring 2015: Ben DriscollJensen RollMatt SnowGiles Roll