Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a Jesuit university located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The university "has a commitment to educating citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion and cultivating knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.” This mission, partnered with the abundant resources available in the Valley, creates an incredible synergy of innovation with a purpose. Our team aims to contribute to this synergy with renewed focus on developing and promoting programs that explicitly serve students' ambitions and interests, which will encourage sustained engagement in and commitment to the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.
Link to the 2018-2019 Landscape Canvas assessment that details the courses, programs, and organizations currently responsible for the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.
History of Strategic Priorities
Encouraging Innovative Cross-Collaboration Among the Schools at SCU (2018-2019)
Most essential to the success of real-life projects and teams is collaboration. At Santa Clara University, however, the individual schools are often siloed, lacking cross-collaborative activities and courses that would enrich the students’ experiences even further. Courses within the Engineering school are excellent for technical training, and Business school courses prepare their students for much of the business scenarios they may encounter, but at the core of entrepreneurship is a combination of technical advancements and business acumen that can only be achieved with collaboration. We intend to implement a hands-on, project-based course that will bring engineering and business students together in a collaborative environment. Students will learn crucial technical and business topics, and how their intersection can push innovation to the next level. Teams will be made up of students in various majors who can act as both leaders and learners, ultimately contributing to a product that will move through a version of the entire entrepreneurial process. Based on student interests and market research, this course will be developed (by our team and faculty champion) to meet the demands of the students and their future careers as collaborative contributors to innovative success.
Promoting Awareness of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Resources (2018-2019)
While many I&E opportunities exist at SCU, there is currently a problem in boosting student awareness of them. The Engineering School has sent out emails, created an online calendar, and even put up physical fliers advertising events that students can get involved in, but an overload of information has led to most engineering students neglecting these efforts. Typically, the same group of students is attending each event, so the challenge resides in expanding the group of attendees to a wider range of engineers. Our team intends to have a large, quarterly event where organizers and professors can pitch their events to students, which would restrict advertising to a few hours as opposed to lengthy, weekly emails. Additionally, our team members will act as liasons between the administration/event organizers and the students by raising awareness through fliers, social media advertising, and outreach to clubs.
Identifying and Accommodating Students’ Entrepreneurial Ambitions (2018-2019)
In order to create demand for the abundant I&E resources on campus, we must first understand students' expectations and ambitions for their college careers. If they expect a large emphasis on entrepreneurship in a classroom setting, we can meet them there with new courses and revamped lab guidelines. If we find students want more freedom and are interested in entrepreneurship outside of the classroom, we will provide access to community-sourced projects and resources. We would like to find out where these expectations and desires lie through extensive market research. We hope to properly gain the perspective of students and professors by explicitly speaking to these individuals, as well as implicitly analyzing which resources, approaches, and courses are popular and why others need work.
Bridging the Gap Between Classroom Curriculum and Applied Innovation (2018-2019)
Problem solving in the workplace is much different than the guided labs many students are used to doing at university. Due to this fact, when students find themselves in internships and full-time jobs, they are ill prepared for the more open-ended problem solving that exists in the workplace. In order to better prepare students for the future, we hope to rework labs to allow for more freedom in studentss solutions and creative problem solving. Additionally, by better promoting more projects on campus, students will get the opportunity to collaborate with other engineers, which is a key component of real-world projects. The combination of these two initiatives will ideally instill confidence in students when they are asked to work on collaborative, open-ended projects during their internships and full-time jobs, which will lead to even more opportunities for the students in the future. As such, we intend to work with faculty to create innovative lab guidelines and objectives, as well as provide more opportunities for team and project creation.
Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2017-2018)
Santa Clara University has many institutions perfect for growing its students' entrepreneurial skills. A popular minor at the school is entrepreneurship, where students take classes in many different business disciplines. This minor also includes an internship with a start up in Silicon Valley. Similarly, the school offers a minor in Technical Innovation, Design Thinking and the Entrepreneurial Mindset, which is held within the School of Engineering with the purpose of being easier to fit in to an engineer's schedule than the entrepreneurship minor. The school also offers opportunities for project-based design thinking experience through clubs such as Bronco Design, ASME, IEEE, CIE and more. The SCU School of Engineering offers many elective courses in design thinking and innovation as a part of the KEEN program, which looks to encourage innovation on campus. The KEEN program also sponsors quarterly project-based competitions with cash prizes to incentivize students to gain valuable experience. Santa Clara is currently in the process of implementing STEM 2020, a project which involves replacing all the current STEM buildings with a massive STEM complex called the Sobroato Campus for Discovery and Innovation (SCDI). SCU is designing this complex with the intention of having innovation and entrepreneurship at the forefront.
Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2017-2018)
Being in the Silicon Valley, a lot of the professors here at Santa Clara come from entrepreneurial professions. Many teachers in the business school teach with the entrepreneurial mindset and give real world examples from their own experiences. Often, faculty also have important relationships with start up companies and encourage these companies to come speak on campus. Professors also get many grants that they hand off to students to encourage entrepreneurship. Every senior engineering student must create their own design product, working along side faculty, considering many entrepreneurial ideals. Finally, Santa Clara hires real-world entrepenuers and industry leaders to teach 1-unit elective classes.
Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function (2016-2017)
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship facilitates the transfer of technology to students and runs various programs to bring speakers on campus all in the name of entrepreneurship. The center provides a network of connections to various companies and technologies so the students can flourish with the entrepreneurial mindset. The use of technology is also encouraged in the Maker Lab at Santa Clara University, where any student who goes through training can use the lab as much as they wish and create anything they want there. Furthermore, through the construction of the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovaiton (the new space for STEM at SCU), the school is investing in "Innovation Spaces" throughout the new buildings where students can collaborate on projects, as well as Maker Spaces similar to the Maker Lab to allow for hands on learning.
Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration (2016-2017)
The university has many useful connections with companies inside and outside of Silicon Valley. Handshake is a website where students can see job and internship postings for companies looking for Santa Clara University students. There are many startups and entrepreneurial opportunities available for students here, such as the quartily KEEN competitions.
Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts (2016-2017)
Santa Clara encourages students to aid in regional and local economic efforts. An example of this is the collaboration with NASA and the SCU Robotics Systems Lab, where students run missions with cutely named satellites "Ketchup and Mustard". The school also encourages its students to be socially responsible in all things including promoting charitable programs in dorms, and even requiring an (experiential learning and social justice) core curriculum requirement which gets students out volunteering in the community. All in all, Santa Clara takes advantage of the surrouding area in a way that is beneficial to its students.
Santa Clara University
University Innovation Fellows