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Missouri University of Science and Technology Priorities

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Missouri S&T's strength in the experiential learning and research activities of its STEM programs gives it huge potential for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Analysis of S&T's Spring 2015 landscape canvas has demonstrated its strengths in the area of building technical skills for student innovation and excellent support for spinning-out startups thanks to the growing St. Louis entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Pitch Video

Strategy #1: Expose Students to Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Inspire them to Learn More

The first step to a student's education in innovation and entrepreneurship is to introduce them to these ideas and encourage them to learn more. Programs may facilitate this discovery process.

Tactic #1: Create an Entrepreneur Speaker Series to Educate and Inspire


Missouri S&T's campus has the potential to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship; however, the lack of student and faculty exposure to such thoughts and attitudes prevents its growth. The creation of a startup speaker series hosting entrepreneurs, investors, founders of social benefit organizations, entrepreneurship support organizations, and others seeks to spark conversations among students and faculty about innovation and entrepreneurship.

S&T's entrepreneurship club, TIES, will host the "Spark Speaker Series" for the first time in the Spring 2015 semester. At this time eight speakers have been confirmed, with more in the works. This is enough to host a speaker at least every other week, with the ultimate goal being to host one every week. Ultimately, it is desirable to further expand the series into a 1 credit-hour seminar that any student could enroll in.

Team Lead: Josh Jetter


Phase 1: Bi-weekly or weekly speaker series hosted by TIES. Run through the Spring 2015 semester. Expand to reach at least 50 students per event.

Phase 2: Transition into a 1 credit-hour seminar available to all students. Enroll at least 100 students in the Fall 2015 offering of the class.

Tactic #2: Create a 1000 Pitches Style Event to Engage Students


Expose and engage students of all backgrounds in the creativity and innovation process. Have them craft a simple pitch about their idea and then feed them into more developed innovation and entrepreneurship programs. This would be an instance of this program.

Team Lead:

None at this time (this is a future program).


Fall 2015: Introduce program, reach at least 100 students

Spring 2016: Expand program to at least 250 students

Fall 2016: Engage at least 500 students

Tactic #3: Increase Visibility of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Activities


An important part of facilitating the growth of any movement is to celebrate its successes. Increasing the visibility of all activities related to innovation and entrepreneurship helps to establish a common mindset and culture.

This is a first step to establishing early engagement with students, faculty, administration, alumni, and industry partners. Execution of this would center around producing PR materials such as blog posts, press releases, news articles, newsletters, etc. covering successes from activities such as the Innovation Fellows programs, the Pathways to Innovation program, research commercialization, I-Corps related activities, student and/or alumni run startups, and others.

Ideally hosting these materials on a website or mobile application. 

Team Lead:

Tim Buesking


Step 1: Collect all pertinent and available resources on and available to campus such as scholarships, application deadlines, activities and any other relevant information for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 

Step 2:  Meet with IT and administration to try convince them to host the website on the university website.

Step 3: Develop mobile application and website containing the information collected in Step 1.

Step 4: Maintain and regularly update the apps.


Tactic #4: Create I&E Opening Week Workshop 


Research has revealed Missouri S&T has numerous I&E resources, but the engagement of the right students interested in I&E takes longer than it should. The need to quickly connect and inform students about I&E resources at S&T spurred the mission to create an I&E centered workshop.

Missouri S&T supports incoming freshmen through a week-long orientation program called Opening Week before fall semester classes begin. Opening Week is designed to help in the three-pronged attack of orientation, transition, and retention of new students. Each student's Opening Week is structured around an academic workshop like math review or chemistry lab safety, or other non-academic workshops like Leadership or financial literacy. The students pick a workshop from the ~6 options available in the months leading up to Opening Week at their initial Orientation (PRO) Day. The introduction of a new I&E centered workshop will quickly bridge the gap between students and resources for them, inroduce like-minded students to each other, and will build up a pool of I&E champions on campus. 

Team Leads:

Eric Fallon, Cori Hatley, Tyler Jenkins, Connor Wolk


Fall 2015 (Completed): Develop general structure & curriculum to be approved by Director of New Student Programs by November, recruit future project stakeholders, create branding efforts to be implemented primarily in the spring

Spring 2016: Refine workshop structure, decide on leaders of workshop who will execute mission in August, recruit incoming freshmen to sign up for workshop through PRO days

Fall 2016: Implement workshop during 2016 Opening Week, collect student feedback, reassess and adjust for future implementation

Strategy #2: Establish Opportunities to Build Skills in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity

Missouri S&T has extensive opportunities to build technology, engineering, and limited business skills through experiential learning programs such as its student design teams. Opportunities dedicated specificially to building the "soft skills" critical to the execution of all real-world ventures are more lacking. Key areas that need to be addressed in the context of innovation and entrepreneurship include communications, marketing, and branding; customer discovery and lean startup methodologies; creative problem solving and innovationg methods; and many others. In addition to be directly applicable to innovation and entrepreneurship, these skills also make students highly desirable employees for existing companies.

Tactic #1: Creation of a Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor


Students have limited opportunities to build skills important to innovation and entrepreneurship in the academic setting. The creation of a Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor would allow students of all degree programs to build these skills. Proposed courses that would count towards the minor (some existing and some new; not all required to obtain minor):

  • Domain Exploration and Innovation MethodsExplore the different methods and concepts of problem definition and ideation. Material will focus on the first step of innovation and encourages students to adopt a mindset that looks for solvable problems. 
  • Skill Development for EntrepreneursA little bit of everything - being a founder requires wearing many hats, often at the same time. This course will offer an intensive introduction to many of the key skills you will need to understand including: programming, project management, CAD, machining, Circuit Board Design, asking questions, negotiation, listening, and more.
  • Advanced Domain Exploration and Innovation MethodsStudy the second and third steps of innovation: blueprinting and assessing ideas. Students will explore 5-10 disparate domains, look for solvable problems, and create and assess solutions. Entering the class with a 'founding team' of 2-5 other students is recommended.
  • Interpersonal Dynamics Explore the boundaries of group dynamics, methods of creating lasting relationships, and the dynamics of communication in various situations.
  • Lean LaunchPad and Agile MethodsStudy agile methods of business creation through the Lean Launchpad model. Entrance into the class requires a 'founding team' of 2-5 students prepared to tackle a problem and create a company. Work will require intensive customer interviews and "getting out of the classroom" to learn.
  • Technical Entrepreneur DevelopmentOffers an opportunity for students to further engage the Lean Launchpad model and develop their business model.
  • Mentoring Technical InnovationTrue understanding comes when you can teach something yourself. Mentor a team through Lean Launchpad & Agile Methods, and perfect your knowledge of agile project management.

Team Lead: Dr. Bonnie Bachmann and Ian Lee


Students are currently taking these courses and are on target to receive the first minor by 2016.

Tactic #2: Encourage Participation in StartUp Weekends, Hackathons, and Similar Activities


Team Lead:


Strategy #3: Provide Students with Opportunities to Experiment and Test New Ideas

Once students have an interest in innovation and have built the necessary skills, it is important to allow them experiment with and test out their new ideas. Programs and resources should facilitate their creative problem solving processes, customer discover, and prototype development.

== Tactic #1: Create a Student Creativity/Ideation/Maker Space == Description: Once students have built skills and interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, it is necessary to facilitate the growth of their ideas, and assist them in establishing product-market fit. A creativity, ideation, and maker space provides students with a location to work with one another to identify, develop, and prototype innovative solutions to real-world problems. This is an important prerequisite before the formation and execution of a formal commercial or not-for-profit venture. At this point, the following requirements have been identified for the space: *Student accessible 24/7 *In a central, highly visible location on campus *Infrastructure in place for facilitating creative problem solving and group conversation **Whiteboards and/or Flipcharts **Multimedia equipment (sound, projector/TV, etc.) **Adaptable furniture (rearrangeable seating and tables) *Infrastructure in place for basic prototyping **3D printer **3D scanner *Presence of an "idea wall" for engaging public in creativity and innovation *TV screen with calendar of upcoming I&E events

Team Lead: Josh Jetter, Ian Lee, Mary Paleo, John Schoeberle, Katherine Ramsay, Mark Raymond Jr.

Milestones: Phase 1: Create a space immediately by renovating an existing space

  • End of October 2015: Identify a viable location for space
  • End of December 2015: Finish raising funds and have complete design/definition of this iteration of the space
    Phase 2: Create a permanent space

Tactic #2: Provide Access to Prototyping Resources through the Creation of the SDELC Student Innovation Team


The Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC) provides students with 24/7 access to a machine shop, welding lab, electronics lab, composites lab, general fabrication space, and a computer lab. These facilities have traditionally been reserved for the use of teams competing in design competitions, however, it is a resource that could easily be made accessible to students building prototypes for their innovations as well.

Team Lead:

Josh Jetter, Chris Ramsey, Eric Anderson


March 2015: Finish Proposal for "Student Innovation Team"

May 2015: Have "Student Innovation Team" Accepted into SDELC

Strategy #4: Facilitate Student Pursuit of Startup Activities within the University Context

Once students have validated their ideas through experimentation, it is necessary to provide them with the resources to pursue commercialization and execution.

Tactic #1: Grow Business Incubator and Accelerator Resources


Expand Student Business Incubator (SBI) offering to include more mentorship, opportunities for networking, opportunities for seed funding, and additional training and specialized resources.

Team Lead:

None at this time


To be determined.

Startegy #5: Encourage Research Commercialization

Tactic #1: Obtain I-Corps Site Designation


An NSF I-Corps Site designation would provide additional opportunities for research commercialization by Missouri S&T.

Team Lead:

Dr. Bonnie Bachmann


June 2015: I-Corps Site Proposal Submitted

Tactic #2: Foster a Culture of Entrepreneurship among Gradudate Students and Faculty

Description: TBD

Team Lead: TBD

Milestones: TBD

Strategy #6: Establish Program Continuity

Tactic #1: Establish a Champion for Development of Entrepreneurship Programs


A central point of contact for the development of entrepreneurship programs at S&T would assist in provide clear long-term direction. One possible solution is the creation of a dean or provost of entrepreneurship or a similar position.

Team Lead: TBD

Milestones: TBD

Tactic #2: Establish Entrepreneur in Residence Positions


Create Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) position(s) in each college of academic department. This will facilitate the development of an entrepreneurial culture among students and faculty as well as build industry connections necessary for research commercialization.

Team Lead: TBD

Milestones: TBD

Tactic #3: Identify and Train Future Change-Makers


Develop future entrepreneurship champions (faculty, EIRs, administrators, and students (esp. for the UIF program)) to continue the development of these programs.

Related Links

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

Fall 2016:

Elizabeth Popoola

Jonathan Bopps

Atoosa Khiabani

Spring 2016:

Tyler Jenkins

Katherine Ramsay

Mark Raymond Jr

Connor Wolk

Fall 2015:

Timothy Buesking

Eric Fallon

Cori Hatley

John Schoeberle

Spencer Vogel

Spring 2015:

Josh Jetter