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University of Technology Sydney Student Priorities

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2018 Fall UIF's 

Strategy 1 - Campus Quest 

What was noticed during research was that there was such a vast array of opportunities available to students within the sphere of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. What we also found was that there was limited knowledge amongst students about these opportunities and as a result less than desirable engagement. Identifying this as an issue and an opportunity to make an impact, the idea for Campus Quest was borne. Campus Quest is a virtual world that is aimed at encouraging engagement between students and the wider I&E university ecosystem. Students (referred to as players) enter the virtual world through a smartphone or tablet. From there they are able to create a customizable Avatar and are asked to attribute them with skills that reflect their own skills in the real world. Students, societies, faculties and teams can use the virtual world to connect and collaborate on projects and tasks. Players also have access to real time information on opportunities, classes, workshops and more with a focus in multi disciplinary collaboration in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Nicholas will oversee the development of this project. This idea will require a large amount of University involvement, funding and support. Also involved will be a large amount of software development, with the potential to engage software and IT students within the University to assist on development of the virtual world. The idea will be to quickly develop a minimum viable product (e.g. Beta version) to be able to test as quickly as possible. There should be a strong focus on gathering as much feedback as possible in order to develop further iterations. Ideally the beta version should be completed within a 6 month period with major development iterations to continue for the next couple of years.

Strategy 2 - Hall Of Fame 

All across campus students are incessantly creating and contributing to very successful projects, yet are still left unseen or unappreciated for their efforts. We believe that we can meaningfully redefine ‘empty spots’ around campus that are not being used in the most efficient way, by instead displaying projects and materials from other students as a tool for motivation, engagement and a guide as to how students can go above and beyond and indulge in the creative experience beyond their degree. Mary Anne Radmacher once said ‘Your success will shine as a light of hope and inspire numbers you cannot total.’  

Jacob, will primarily be incharge of this project, with assistance from the other UIF’s. In order for this strategic plan to be successfully implemented on campus, he would potentially need the support of the university as well as students who are willing to contribute and display their achievements.

Strategy 3 - Rethink How We Learn  

Through conducting interviews and facilitating conversations with peers on campus we have come across typical gaps around the whole idea of ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’. There is this large stigma around what ‘design thinking’, ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ really means. With many individuals left questioning ‘why innovation?’ and ‘what does it achieve?’ the questions only accumulate from there. This has therefore allowed us to actively strive for solutions to mitigate the misconstrued perception students have of I&E. The aim is to adopt innovation within our curriculum. We have an array of extracurricular programs centered around design thinking, but why stop there why not push for innovation within the classrooms, to truly showcase to students the importance of I&E in shaping our every so rapidly altering future.

Kritika will be overseeing the movement on this project with the assistance of other UIF’s alongside faculty and possibly innovation incubators on campus namely UTS StartUps. The goal would be to ideally begin these movements at a pilot stage, and test the reaction from both staff and students as well as observe the effectiveness of such changes upon both the individuals morale and academic chart. Initially we wanted this project to be spread across UTS, across various faculties (including non-traditional faculties that are still underrepresented for innovation namely Nursing) this was to promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. However, as we begun prototyping and realistically assessing the feasibility of such a large movement, we established that it would be best to begun this plan on one faculty assess the reactions and then roll out to other potential faculties.

Strategy 4 - UTS StartUps in Classrooms 

To bring UTS StartUps to the classroom, we will need to be in contact with members of UTS StartUps and Subject Coordinators to ensure that the collaboration has a smooth transition. Work will be required to make sure that UTS StartUps will be incorporated into variety of subjects, eventually across several disciplines, while not being repetitive. Students will see how innovation and entrepreneurship begins and that it doesn’t just end when the subject does.

Georgia will be in charge, striving for these objectives and incorporating the following tactics:

  • Create a better link between faculty, faculty subject coordinators, and UTS StartUps
  • Find areas where I&E can be incorporated/are already incorporated and slot UTS StartUps into these areas
  • Monitor Student engagement with UTS StartUps

2017 Spring UIF's 

Strategy #1 Creation of an innovation space

Recently, UTS has begun encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship around campus, made evident by starting two team in the University Innovation Fellows program. Created by the previous and new candidate UIF’s at UTS, this strategy aims to provide a place to facilitate innovation collaboration and teamwork for students. Currently this strategy is already off the ground and we have already pitched our ideas to the heads of the Engineering and IT faculty and they are more than enthusiastic with our idea.

Milestone 1: Initial Stakeholder meeting - Completed

What got our project started was when the heads of the Engineering and IT Faculty emailed us expressing interest in re-purposing a previously unused space in the Engineering and IT building.

Milestone 2: Idea Pitch - Completed

Two weeks from our initial stakeholder meeting, we re-scheduled a meeting with the faculty leaders to pitch our ideas. We generated three ideas for our innovation space which had varying levels of creativity and many different features. We gained valuable insigth from the faculty leaders, as they provided many thoughts and opinions on what they thought would work and what was too far out there to be practicle.

Milestone 3: Investor Pitch - Completed

To provide funding for the room, the faculty leaders had a potential investor lined up who was interested to know what kind of opportunities this space could provide for students. We had a short meeting with the investor where we gave him a summarised version of our three pitches and explained why this un used space should be re purposed. Over all the investor had a positive opinion of our ideas and even had his ideas and suggestions to improve our ideas.

Milestone 4:  Project Follow Up – Planned Feb 2018

In this milestone we aim to discuss potential strategies to take our ideas to the final stages and eventually turn the innovation space from an idea into a reality.

Milestone 5: Working with architects or designers – Planned March 2018

In this milestone we aim to create a design for the final product by working architects and designers. We aim to have a professional looking design that will be enticing to students as well as serve their practical needs for innovation and collaboration.

Milestone 6: Construction - Planned April 2018

For the construction of our space we aim for it to take as little time as possible, to minimise disturbance for the students, with the construction taking place outside of peak university times.

Milestone 7: Grand opening - Planned July 2018

In this milestone we intend to open our innovation space to the students. It is very rare to see new and interesting spaces open from existing spaces inside UTS, so we aim to have an awesome opening ceremony.

Strategy #2 Formal Recognition of student involvement in extra-curricular activities

During interviews with first year students at UTS we discovered that a lot of students were extremely unengaged with extra-curricular acitivites, were intidimated to be involved, were not aware of opportunities or were wanting to be involved but didn't have the belief they were capable enough. Many students would go to class and go back home or to work.

As well as this, a lot of students also felt that they were unable to differentiate themselves when applyng for a job and felt that the only way to do so was through extra-currcular activiites, however, communicating their involvements was extremely difficult when integrating it in their CV. 

By combining these 2 issues, we were able to ideate a solution to incentivise students to become even more engaged with university life outside of classes. This resulted in the idea to implement and recognise students’ involvement formally in their academic transcript to show employer's a student's involvement during their course of their degree.

As a result of this, students would feel the need to beomce involved in university to help distinguish themselves from others when seeking a job and feel rewarded for doing so.

The Plan:

Milstone 1:

We would begin speaking to employer's about what they seek when hiring people. We would conduct an empathy interview about students and the hiring process, and how extra-currcular activities could be implement when going through the job application process.

Milestone 2:

We would speak to the Faculty of Engineering and IT about the demands of industry when it comes to job application, and provide them a list of reccomendations that industry expect from universities in regards to student exmployment. 

Milestone 3:

We would then get students to voice their concerns to Faculty about the needs of formal recognition in the Academic Transcript and then being to work closely with Faculty to being integrating this system. 

Milestone 4:

After this, a checklist would be created to ensure that extra-curricular activities are monitored and thoroughly examined to give students opportunities to have these involvements formalised in their transcript. 

Milestone 5:

Implement a IT system to ensure the smooth running of the documentation and recording of student involvement at UTS.

Milestone 6:

Announce the creation of the new section of the Academic Transcript.

Strategy #3 - Social Events to Break Down Faculty Separations

When interviewing students from various degree backgrounds, it was often evident that rarely interacted with students who were apart of a different faculty to themselves. In many occasions, they barely interacted with people outside of their own course. We have often seen that students who know more people in a cross disciplined environment often get involved with a much grander range of activities and therefore enjoy their university experience more.

Tactic #1 - Run innovation workshops for cross faculty students to encourage innovation and meeting of friends

A continual aim of the UIFs at UTS has been to foster innovation and promote student engagement at our uni. We are modifying it slightly so that it is no so much as a strategy and instead making it more of a goal we will achieve by doing other activities. In this case we are getting there by bringing together students from a range of backgrounds and using their different skills so that they work on the theme that we have for that particular workshop.

Tactic #2 - Run social events that are not discipline specific

We have found during our empathy work that students are most likely not to go to an event because they do not know any other people who will be going. A good way to overcome this first hurdle is with social activites as these are often vary popular and can be used to familiarise people with the cohort they could be working with for a rnage of other events.

This then means that we will be able to have a much larger audience to promote our events to, along with the change that people will be interacting with students not apart of their usual friend group.

Tactic #3 - Host uni wide hackathons to get people involved

This tactic follows on from tactic #2 as students who have become familar with us as a staple of uni life. This tactic will begin to integrate the uni courses with the social side of the university. The innovation methods that we have discussed with the group can be integrated with real life problems cementing the knowledge they learn at uni as an actual useful thing to have. It will also expose students to the grander scheme of what their knowledge can be used for.

Milestone #1 - Host a networking event at which there is no more than 35% of students from a particular faculty

Due to the make up of the university a reasonable goal of faculty mix would be around 35%, this would allow for the slightly larger faculties in the universities, while still making sure that we have an almost equal mix of backgrounds across the university.

Milsestone #2 - Expland the UIF program at UTS outside of the Engineering Faculty

Currently all UIF program at UTS is hosted from the engineering faculty. This has been fantastic at the start, but it would be a true step forward to expand this to other faculties around the university as to gain different perspectivies and new ideas.

Milestone #3 - Make orientation a uni wide event with activites for all students.

One of the most influential times at university is in the first week of the first year of a student's university life. Here many friends are made and perspectives are grown. At the moment most, if not all introduction sessions are run on a faculty level with many being dealt with in cohort and major groups. By growing this so that the activities include a range of different backgrouds the university would be in a much better position to host cross disciplines events and grow strengths as the encouragement to take classes out of a specific faculty would come from the students.

Milestone #4 - commence uni subjects that are not tied to one particular faculty

The final milestone after the range of improvements would be for the uni to introduce subjects that were not directly related to any specific faculty and instead were based around the aim of solving real life problems. Here students would come from a range of backgrounds and would be able solve issues in a challenge based learning environment. This would fit in well with the graduate attributes that UTS promotes and also would prepare students for real life work.

Ultimately the aim is to connect current communities on campus and allowing new students to find ways to get involved. This strategy hopes to influence the success of other strategies being implemented at the University.

Strategy #4 - Creating a Cohesive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Environment

UTS is a large university with approximately 45,000 students currently enrolled. As a result, the UTS campus is vast and spread out over a large geographical area. As each building is home to a specific faculty, this creates a sense of pride and belonging within each faculty however it can also contribute to a feeling of disassociation with the rest of the university. This is especially true in the case of the innovation building which most students are completely unaware of.

After interviewing several students from the Faculty of Engineering and IT, we could not find a single student who was aware of the existence of this innovation building where so many of UTS' I&E programs take place. Through our own experiences at UTS, we have observed a rift between the students who frequently engage in I&E activities and those who do not. After speaking with students, most told us that they would have gotten involved in these activities had they known about them. From these discussions coupled with our own experiences, we believe the main cause of this is poor advertising and the physical isolation of I&E programs and initiatives within the innovation building.

Instead of perpetuating an environment in which students are forced to seek out I&E programs and events themselves, we believe the solution to this problem is to bring small I&E experiences into the everyday life of the UTS student. We are still investigating how best to do this with ongoing ideation, prototyping, and feedback.

Milestone #1 - Widespread I&E Advertising Across Campus

In order to increase studnet awareness of the current I&E offerings around UTS. We want to expand the advertising efforts of these programs so that they aren't aimed solely at those who are already involved in I&E. Currently, the majority of I&E advertising can be found around our innovation building and is much more scarce around the rest of the campus.

Milestone #2 - Integration of I&E Activities into University Wide Events

By integrating I&E activities into events like Open Day, we can create a culture of innovation amongst the future students of UTS. If we keep on track, by the time they get here there will be incresed opportunity and awareness to satisfy the needs of this culture.

Milestone #3 - Student I&E Ambassadors from Each Faculty

We aim to form teams of I&E ambassadors from across the university campus. These ambassadors would help us to disseminate information regarding I&E events and offerings while also educating students in I&E tools and techniques. As these teams grow and develop, we hope to create new I&E offerings with their help.

Milestone #4 - Innovation Islands Across Campus

Once a culture has been developed across the university, our goal is to create physical innovation islands in thoroughfares across the university. These islands would have information on I&E offerings, examples of past student creations, and student I&E ambassadors to teach new skills and answer questions.

Milestone #5 - Innovation Spaces Across Campus

As an extension to the innovation islands, we hope to create dedicated innovation spaces in each building at UTS. These spaces would originally be used for extra curricular activities and events relating to I&E however we hope that over time they could be used for subjects in which a component of I&E can be taught.

Related Links

UTS Campus Overview

UTS Home Page:

UTS Hatchery Home Page:

UTS FaceBook Page:

Autumn (Fall) 2018 UIF:

Nicholas Berriman

Georgia McCarthy

Jacob Varanian

Kritika Khanna

Spring 2018 UIF:

Alastair Bate

Laurence Presland

James Ryan

Gavan Huang

Spring 2017 UIF:

Matthew Childs

Peter Cole

Irene Hsieh

Corey Stewart