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Fall 2017 Change Story

Opinion from diverse groups

In order to build a truly integrative project around innovation and entrepreneurship at the university, it is fundamental to obtain the opinions and perspectives from diverse groups, including students faculty and staff from several fields and also administration alumni and companies.


  • Set up booths on the Drillfield (center of campus), to get the community opinion about important topics
  • Promote small town hall sessions in different areas of campus aiming to get input from diverse groups
  • Stimulate discussion through VT official social media channels
  • Create fun events to get faculty, student and administration together in collaborative challenges
  • Set up online polls asking all segments about their desired future paths for the university
  • Add a comments box to be displayed every time a person logs in on the university computing system.

Consult students when elaborating policy and programs

It would be beneficial for Virginia Tech to adopt a student-centered approach when planning its policies and programs. Although the input of students in specific fields is consulted, it seems the number and the diversity of students actually participating in those processes is low.  Students of other groups or fields often feel distant from those programs and events, as if they were not a part of the innovation mindset/ momentum at the university.


  • Develop a quick survey for students to be distributed by faculty on the classrooms
  • Distribute the survey in the dining halls
  • Promote small focus groups involving the student organizations in campus
  • Assembly a student consulting body with representatives of all clubs and innovations hubs in campus
  • Work with InclusiveVT to ensure participation and input from underrepresented students
  • Add a weekly online poll on VT social media about specific ongoing projects

More effective communication strategies regarding ideas and plans that impact students

Being a large size university, it is understandable that communication strategies at VT are not always well-integrated and confined to specific majors or colleges. For the effective development of a thriving student-centered innovation environment at the university, It would be important to invest in integrated communication strategies that include students of all majors and levels,informing and engaging them on the university’s ideas and plans that impact directly their academic and personal lives.


  • Develop a student-led online magazine
  • Work with the student organizations to get new communication channels using their existing structures
  • Develop a student-centered section of VT News
  • Embed this section of VT News on Canvas, (Learning Management System)
  • Use channels as Slack and SnapChat to communicate with students
  • Use the large screens at Newman Library to communicate about future and ongoing plans
  • Use the table cards and screens at the dining halls to communicate about new initiatives in place

Knowledge about available resources

The landscape canvas showed that VT offers a set of diverse resources in innovation and entrepreneurship that are high-quality and fully available for students. However, the knowledge about these resources is limited and students from majors outside business and engineering still feel disconnected.


  • Create a type of Netflix “Max” that suggests resources from goals that people input.
  • “100 resources you have as a VT student”, partner with local press to create this article.
  • Rely on student to share by word of mouth.
  • Start a “Did you know” series
  • Have students stories include resources they used to succeed.
  • Video content to walk students through resources.

Partnerships with industry/sponsors

Establishing more partnerships with industry and external sponsors that offer direct opportunities for students to learn and practice in real-world settings is a key component on a strategy aiming to expand the impact of innovation for students at the university.


  • Create multidisciplinary groups
  • Ask for money
  • Brag about company sponsors, include them in newsletters.
  • Allow companies to sponsor more events on campus.
  • Create more job fairs across all majors.
  • Build close relationships with companies by keeping alumni involved.

Becoming a student-centered university

Increasing importance of getting students “on-board” for the realization of the university’s projects  -  engaging students on planning and making their own learning environment and system is a key feature for universities’ aiming to build a new and improved experiential college for the future.


  • Use surveys, focus groups and other strategies to capture students’ perspective
  • Promote Town Hall meetings (with free food)
  • Delegate more student representatives such as the board of visitors student rep.
  • Share student success stories
  • Start a student podcast
  • Bring back TedX talks.

Note: After talking with diverse stakeholders and co-creating in several change mode canvases addressing our priorities, we were able to uncover underlying issues and potential gaps. We discover converging aspects and an opportunity to position ourselves as mediators between those audiences needs and offerings - in particular, the new experiential learning initiative at Virginia Tech emerged as a potential setting for our work to catalyze change and facilitate shared endeavours between students and admininstration.

Related Links

Virginia Tech Overview 

Supporting Experiential Learning at Virginia Tech:

Fall 2017

Jarrodd Davis

Danielle Jeffers

Najla Mouchrek

Sunny Murthy