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Introduction: TU Well-positioned to help Tulsa's growing I&E community thrive.

Tulsa is in the midst of a growing wave of startups and new local businesses. Numerous renovation projects are underway in the city's historically and culturally rich downtown and surrounding districts, and local philanthropic families and organizations are united in betting on entrepreneurship to fuel economic growth for the 21st century. The University of Tulsa is perfectly positioned to augment and enhance efforts by stakeholders, and to add their efforts to the task of steering Tulsa's huge potential growth in the coming decades.

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

The University of Tulsa is promoting student I&E in several ways. TU's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate and the I&E Minor allow students of any major to learn about the practical, financial, and legal implications of starting a business, as well as get their feet wet ideating, prototyping, and brainstorming on team projects. Classes required for the Certificate and Minor include MGT2043 Entrepreneurship Startup, MGT 4053 Entrepreneurship, MKTG2013 Applied Creativity and Innovation, MGT 3053 Enterprise Creation and Development, BL 3113 Business Law for Entrepreneurs, and MGT 4163 Entrepreneurial Leadership and Strategy.

Currently at TU, there is a limited amount of non I&E classes that have a focus in I&E priciples. TU offers a course called Global Challenges. This class is limited to students that are accepted into the Global Scholars program. Within this class, students are given the opportunity to build a project based on an assigned "global challenge"(Migration, Resources, Technology, Population, etc.) The students are given time, support, and resources to focus on the problem in their local area. 

There are also experimental courses offered but they are mostly in the College of Engineering. Senior Design Projects allow creative freedom within Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and Mechanical Engineeringe 

The advisory board of TU's Entrepenuer Department is Profressor Clair Cornell, Dr. Tracy Suter, Dr. Charles Wood, and Dr. Larry Wofford. 

Professor Claire Cornell is an advocate for student participation in the annual Love's Cup state and regional business plan competition, and teaches MGT 4143: Governors Cup Bus Plan to allow students to focus their time and earn credit for their participation. Dr. Tracy Suter is the David and Leslie Lawson Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at TU, and teaches Enterprise Creation Development and Applied Innovation and Creativity, along with other business and marketing courses.

Dr. Charles Wood is a Fulbright Scholar and the faculty advisor for TU's NOVA Fellowship (www.novafellowship.org), which is a multidisicplinary student group whose motto is "Dream and do," and who organizes the annual campus TEDx event (www.tedxuniversityoftulsa.com), the Oklahoma Young Entrepreneur Awards (www.oyea.co), and other competitions, design challenges, and creative collaborations.

TU's Engineers Without Borders chapter (http://www.ewb.oneofakind.ws/) and Make A Difference Engineering (MADE at TU, https://engineering.utulsa.edu/academics/mechanical-engineering/make-a-difference-engineering/), and Sustainable Engineering for Needy and Emerging Areas (https://engineering.utulsa.edu/senea-waterheater-mongolia/) gives engineering students opportunities to collaborate towards goals which improve lives in the community and abroad.

Students can learn about I&E opportunities such as the NOVA Fellowship and the I&E Minor and Certificate at a bi-annual Activities Fair, or through stories in the college newspaper, The Collegian. They can meet up to work on projects and think creatively at TU's "Creative Greenhouse," Studio Blue in Helmerich Hall, or fabricate and iterate prototypes in the Mechanical Engineering Student Projects Lab, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Robotics Lab, or off campus less than 1 mile away at Fab Lab Tulsa (www.fablabtulsa.org), a maker space open to paid membership for the entire community.

Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Activity in this area is limited mostly to the Management and Marketing department in the Collins College of Business, but may be spreading campus-wide with the recent adoption of the TU Commitment and the 2017 strategic vision, which includes working harder to weave innovation into the fabric of TU's culture.

Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function

Technology Transfer at TU is led by Dr. William (Bill) Lawson, Director of Technology Commercialization, who can be reached at bill-lawson@utulsa.edu and 918-631-3335, and Dr. Janet Haggerty, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, who can be reached at janet-haggerty@utulsa.edu and 918-631-2304.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

Each department within the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences is guided by a distinguished group of industry professionals who serve as members of the industry advisory board. Internship and Career Fairs are held often, and guest speakers from industry make regular appearances at Lunch and Learn sessions throughout the semester and all around campus. Additionally, relationships are currently in development beween faculty and students at The University of Tulsa and local co-working spaces and startup incubators such as 36 Degress North (www.36degreesnorth.co), Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPros, https://www.typros.org) and The Forge (theforgetulsa.com).

Organizations such as the Oklahoma Innovation Institute (www.oklahomainnovationinstitute.org), The George Kaiser Family Foundation (www.gkff.org), and The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation (https://lobecktaylor.com) are working to increase the economic impact of entrepreneurship in the Tulsa community, and hold events, facilitate connections, and fund initiatives throughout the year.

Related Links

University Innovation Fellows Candidates Spring 2018

Sophie Zehentner

Cheyanne Wheat

Rachel Deeds


University Innovation Fellows candidates, Fall 2017

Conner Bender

Dallas Elleman

Caroline Rodgers


University of Tulsa Links

University of Tulsa

Staying Gold Society

3rd Floor Design

NOVA Fellowship

Oklahoma Young Entrepreneur Awards


Tulsa Links

36Degrees North

Oklahoma Innovation Institute