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Skidmore College Student Priorities

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Project Pitch Video

Student Priorities


The Skidmore motto is “creative thought matters” and the students live and breathe that motto. The abundance of talent is apparent when walking through the campus and seeing the many performances and art and that liven up the community. The most inspiring element of Skidmore can be experienced when drifting through the common areas and listening to the sophisticated conversations. The students are vibrant with information, but there are more effective ways to excerpt the plentiful talent.

As a small liberal arts college and an early-staged ecosystem, there are many possible methods to develop and grow I&E. Through research and analysing the landscape canvas, our most important discovery on achieving I&E is through interdisciplinary collaboration and integrative learning. The different methods to incite I&E may vary, but the culture grows around interdisciplinary collaboration and integrative learning. We will use these themes when developing our campus.


To provide departments the autonomy to collaborate, we think it is necessary to facilitate a collective space. When reflecting on the FORBES ranking, it sheds light on the lack resources of Skidmore as an emerging institution of I&E. In order to more effectively capitalise on this movement, Skidmore will need to adapt and grow.  In the next 2-3 years, we would like to see the institution advance in two ways; facilities and the culture. These factors are interdependent as the facilities will grow in parallel with the culture. Ultimately, our strategy will create channels to develop and expose entrepreneurial endeavours and hopefully incite an I&E revolution. From our research, we are aware of effective Workshops/laboratories that provide a center for interdisciplinary collaboration at other institutions. With Skidmore’s unique criteria, we have devised ideas that cater specifically to Skidmore’s stakeholders and provide an effective center for I&E.


Innovation Lab


The Innovation Lab is a student space that focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration, prototyping, and bringing ideas to life.  We want Skidmore students to be able to pursue any idea they have.  They shouldn’t have to be business or science majors in order to ideate, prototype, and build.

1) Get a group of stakeholders to officially be involved

2) Present to the stakeholders and get feedback; modify the plan

3) Have a completed plan that is ready for investors detailing:

  1. everything that would be needed to build the lab
  2. all systems that would be built around the lab
  3. how students would interact with the lab
  4. proof of concept: statements from students who say they would use this space

4) Send the word out to alumni, donors, and other funding sources

5) Secure the space and start to market


Virtual Innovation Lab


The Virtual Innovation Lab would either stand in place of the physical Innovation Lab or work alongside it.  The Virtual Innovation Lab would be an online spot for students to collaborate as well as showcase their work.  The collaboration would be accomplished by linking students from different disciplines.  Students could write about projects they are working on and find other students who can fill the gaps where needed.  The Virtual Lab would also be a place future Venture Capitalists and other potential investors could go to explore student projects and look for ventures to fund.  

In the same vein as our other projects, the virtual lab would be centered around interdisciplinary work.  It would notonly be open to science and business students looking to build new technology.  Artists, musicians, historians, english majors, dancers, education majors, economics majors, mathematics majors, psychologists, government majors, and more and more.  The list goes on and on and the number of ways different disciplines could collaborate is endless.  In the virtual lab you will see computer science majors mapping dance moves, theatre majors acting out the brain with neuroscience majors, and artists creating from biology.  


Milestones:

1) Put together a team of stakeholders to supervise, network, and build the project.

2) Bring the stakeholders together in order to finalize the plan and find new suggestions

3) Begin building the website

4) Start spreading the word and finding student ambassadors to be the first students involved

5) Launch the website!


Annual Student Expo - “SKIDMORE, what do you do?”


The 1st Annual Student Expo would be a place where students could showcase their work in front of fellow students and faculty as well as potential investors.  The main goal of the expo would be to promote innovation on campus.  The idea is that other students would see the work of their fellow classmates displayed on the central quad and be inspired to pursue a project of their own.  Furthermore, monetary prizes would be awarded to the best entrants both as an incentive to participate and also as  a way to promote individual projects.  Entrants would have to specify what they would use the money for as part of their presentation.

The Student Expo would not be only for business and science students.  We want to promote innovation across disciplines and therefore plan to open the expo to artists, musicians, researchers, and anybody else who has exciting or innovative projects/ideas.  We want to promote shear creativity.

Milestones:

  1. Gather faculty representatives from different departments -- October 16th, 2015
  2. Hold a meeting, bringing these representatives together and present to them a formal plan for how this expo would come to life. -- Week of October 16th, 2015
  3. Start planning!
    1. begin to find investors/funders in order to fund the expo and the prize money
    2. begin to narrow down a list of judges for the expo
    3. contact alumni and begin
  4. Once we have funding, begin to promote the event and find students to participate
  5. Put the show on


Collaborative Assignment


The college wide collaborative assignment would be a short 15 minute long article to read or video to watch with a one page response.

The idea behind a collective assignment is bringing the departments together. Everyone who chooses Skidmore has something in common because we all identify with the culture and see Skidmore as a stepping stone to our future. We all share commonalities, yet the day we arrive we are segmented into our prospective departments.

The goal for the collaborative assignment is focusing the collective attention to one specific topic. By assigning a short project we could have history majors exploring the same issues and topics as the biology and computer science majors. The collective assignment would do two things to stimulate innovation. First of all it would provide students with different majors a common subject or theme to talk about, debate and devise solutions. This would be a hugely powerful exercise as the common ground would be the formation of the interdisciplinary collaboration. Furthermore, it would provide a setting for the students to learn from each other. The second way this collective assignment would incite innovation is by creating a dialogue of an important issue. The short assignment would be thought provoking about a current affairs. The awareness of a new topic might encourage different majors to work together and create a solution. The assignment is a twofold project. The first part is simply the 15 minute assignment video/article and response. The second part would be an optional exercise for students to be awarded extra credit. The institution would provide extra credit for those students who collaborate and write paper/hold a presentation on how they could address the problem. The students might want to start a partition of signatures or hold an event to further spread awareness and address the problems brought up in the assignment. The main theme of this exercise would be to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and reward those who do. We are hopeful that aside from the institutional gains from this exercise, students may provide intelligent solutions to current problems and actually make a difference. We are hopeful that the larger community around us will gain from this exercise as well.




Milestones:

1) Consult various department heads and get feedback

2) Hold stakeholder meeting and formalise the event

3) Notify students of the assignment and the goal of this project

4) Test the idea and receive feedback

5) Adjust assignment according to step 4

6) Issue the first college-wide assignment


[[Skidmore College]]

Written by Henry Cyprien FabreWeston Stewart-Tennes, Alexander Nassif