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Wichita State University Student Priorities

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Wichita State University

Project Pitch Videos

Strategy 1: Alter Campus Culture by gaining more student involvement 

Project Lead: Kelsey Hanna

Tactic #1: Creating a more family friendly campus environment by the addition of drop in daycares and mothers rooms 

With a campus high in nontraditional and returning students it is hard at times to keep adults with families on campus. The idea is that with the addition of a few key resources targeted towards students with families we could create an environment that allows for them to spend more time on campus while also catering to their family's needs. 

Project Lead: Isaac Carrillo

Tactic #2: Introduce Students to an Entrepreunerial Mindset early on. 

Freshman are often eager to apply themselves but lack direction. They feel the doubts and uncertainty of the work load ahead bearing down on their shoulders and this causes them to let go of their dreams for beginning something. Starting a club/organization has many similar characteristics to starting up a business and thus would be very beneficial for students to due. By encouraging these start-ups, we begin to empower students to overcome their fear which in turn will grant them success. The end goal is to develop a system by which it is easy to 

1) Educate the students on the simplicity of the process of starting a club on campus.

2) Assist them to nurture their ideas by providing them substantial aid through: faculty, resources, and encouragment.

3) Guide them through the process of sustaining an organization. (Teaching and handing down leadership)

To do this we will need to gain much knowledge in the area by:

  • Forming a database of Faculty willing to help start student organizations/clubs.
  • Educating ourselves in the process of starting clubs and familiarizing ourselves with important advisors.
  • Developing a way to become easily accessible to the student body. (A link on the WSU homepage?)

Tactic #3: Create More Hangout Spaces for Students to "Lounge" In

Some of the best ideas and greatest of memories are made in the outdoors. Something about the sunshine sparks some great conversation. With our innate love of fresh air it only makes sense to create more spaces to hang around outside. What better than a hammock for one to "hang" with friends? This idea has two bases. The first being Rock Hurst University in Kansas City which hosts several large hammocks all around campus that students are always in. The second base was a senior UIF member from a college in North Dakota. He started his club with 10 members and ended with nearly 300 participants. This culture of leisure is something that may combat the commuter culture at Wichita State. By starting a Hammocking Club we will 

1) Effectively Prototype Tactic #2 and gain knowledge in how to better implement it

2) Create an outdoors-focused culture at Wichita State

To create this "Hammocking Culture" we will have to

  • Start the club and do everything that goes with that process.  
  • Find funding/support from companies and the university.
  • Fundraise
  • Advertise

Strategy 2: Increasing First Year Student Retention

Project Lead: Mohamed Moustafa

One of the main problems facing first year students is uncertainty choosing a field of study or a major to pursue, this applies directly to undecided students but also impacts a great population of freshman students who are decided yet dubious. Through our journey as UIF candidates we had the opportunity to interview freshman students and we found that they are mostly unaware of the wide range of university major offerings. Making students more aware of majors available and career opportunities in each field can make them more likely to commit to finishing their degree and counteract 'first year drop off'. Another very useful startegy for freshman retention that we uncovered through our discussion with several faculty and staff leaders is student-faculty engagement outside of class. Increasing this engagement helps create a home-away-from-home feeling for students which increases their attachment to the university and improves their academic performance, hence increasing retention. Following these discoveries, we developed two intiatives that focus on increasing student-faculty collisions and students' awareness of university offerings.

Initiative #1: Engaging Faculty in Freshman Student Orientation

  • Invite introductory course faculty to attend lunch & dinner with students during orientation (Pilot program)
  • Include faculty as participants in team building and ice-breaker events
  • Run faculty & student focus groups pertaining to engagement
  • Add mini-intros to different fields of study throughout orientation
  • Include activity introducing WSU major offerings/resources to orientation

Initiative #2: Welcome Week Majors Fair

  • Organize a fair as part of Welcome Fest
  • Departments host tables and promote their available majors & minors
  • Faculty interact with students and answer questions
  • Invite alumni to represent departments and talk about their beyond school experience

Strategy 3: Alter the campus culture through curriculum

Project Lead: Kelsey Hanna

Tactic #1: Design thinking pop up classes. 

Pop-Up series classes offered across majors and disciplines led by UIF members to teach design thinking concepts to both student and faculty with the ultimate goal of having design thinking concepts integrated across campus. This would boulster the campus innovation and entrepreneurial mindsight while simultaneously allowing a new approach to education that is both exciting and useful in industry positions. 

Project Lead: Kevin Kraus

Tactic #1: Introduce students to design courses early on.

Selected Topics in Design is an aerospace engineering course that offers sophomore and junior honors students the opportunity to work side-by-side with the aerospace engineering students enrolled in their senior design course.  Creating parallel courses in the other engineering departments would help form a foundation in design earlier on in a student’s academic career.

  • Speak with faculty of senior design courses to gauge feasibility 
  • Discuss the option of these courses fulfilling Engineer of 2020 requirement 
  • Create first revision of curriculum 
  • Begin offering these courses

Tactic #2: Offer interdisciplinary design courses.

Interdisciplinary work allows students the opportunity to gain new perspectives of how their majors interact with other majors in the business world.  A design course that involved business and engineering majors and emphasized product lifecycle management would expose the students to different mindsets and a more holistic understanding of how an idea or solution is created out of an initial design and eventually marketed.  This course could also facilitate community business partners that offer real world problems for the students to undertake as their design project.

  • Find a faculty member interested in teaching the course
  • Determine if this course could satisfy senior design requirements
  • Identify community businesses interested in a partnership
  • Create first revision of curriculum
  • Begin offering the course

Project Lead: Michael Schlesinger, Caylin Wiley, Jesus Gomez and LaRissa Lawrie

Tactic #3: Rethinking Senior Design Courses

  • Interdisciplinary Senior Design Teams:

Through our stakeholder meeting, we have understood that some departments won't give up their requirements when dealing with Senior Design, specially the engineering departments. However, we talked about the possibility of creating indepedent teams in different colleges when students start their senior year or project. Then, the goal was to create a link or collaboration between those groups and develop a company model between them. For example, we talked about the possibility about creating a group of aerospace engineers who will be in charge of the airplane design, electrical engineers about the circuits required, mechanical engineers dealing with engines, business to create a business model or marketing to investigate if there will be a profit, art and communication majors to create the brand, visual design and publicity. The combinations are limitless.

  • Involving Employers

Many students strive to network with employers early on in their college careers. However, lack of opportunities often leaves students wanting more interactions than they get. One way we can change this is by allowing students the opportunity to involve employers in their senior design project. While some colleges already incorporate this idea, it is limited to specific colleges and few employers. Connecting employers with students provides benefits to both side. Students have the chance to obtain real world experience with employers and the problems they face. Employers then have the opportunity to utilize a senior design team to help them resolve an issue within their company. Allowing students and employers to work side by side in senior design projects would help prepare students for their future. 

  • Workshops to help Senior Design students

Some students have the drive to turn their senior design projects into something more. The students we interviewed where looking for resources on how to take a research project and turn it into a viable business or patentable product. The first step to accomplishing this and changing curriculum is to empower students. Part of this tactic is giving students the equivalent of a pop class workshop on senior design classes. Talks are occurring with the research institutes on campus about funding and structural support. The workshops will be designed to take students through the stages of design thinking and prepare students with the lean startup model. The current plan is to hold the workshops three times a semester. 


As one fo the the leading contributers to the Tech Transfer and Research Development schools in the State of Kansas it is important for Wichita State University to continue to push for new methods of encourageing students and to provide opportunities to broaden their intellectual development. By setting in place initiatives that would help facilitate more innovative business models, students could then begin to explore the potentials of their academic course material and truly begin understanding the implecations to their education. 

It is through the social interactions between student to student contributors, faculty to student advisement, and business to student relationships that as a Univesity the cultural development will shift from faculty driven research and development to that of the entire University body working in cotangent towards a more dynamic expereince. 

Strategy 4: Shocker Startup, a student organization to promote entrepreneurship across the campus and community

Project Lead: Hannah Hund

Team: LaRissa Lawrie, Wesley Alexis

Tactic #1: Connect ICT

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Students want to collaborate on projects with people from different disciplines, but do not have a venue to interact with students from other programs or interested community members. Connect ICT is a networking event hosted by Shocker Startup designed to create meaningful collisions between students from different disciplines and the community. Students will share their project idea to a student and community member audience stating what they want to do and what they need to accomplish their goals. Members of the audience with a different backgrounds and access to resources are encouraged to approach presenting students and form teams or partnerships.

Tactic #2: Shocker Startup Impact

Shocker Startup Logo Cropped.jpg

The Impact Speaker Series will host speakers that provide information and inspiration to encourage entrepreneurship in the student population and Wichita community. This event will contribute to the living learning community at Wichita State.

Tactic #3: Pitch and Presentation Competitions

Shocker Startup will host pitch and presentation competitions to give students the experience and practice they need to create startups.  Encouraging community members and industry to be judges will help to further bind the relationship between Wichita State students and the community.

Tactic #4: Partner with Center for Entrepreneurship Forum Series

Shocker Startup will partner with the Wichita State Center for Entrepreneurship to get more students interested in Entrepreneurship. The next series will be part of Shocker Startup to further promote the relationship between the students, community, and university.

Strategy 5: Develop legal competency and security for designers and creatives

Project Lead: Wesley Alexis

Tactic 1: Offer courses on patent law.

  • Assess student need by survey.                                                                    
  • Assess and constructively critique current IP and  legal services at WSU
  • Find faculty and department interested in teaching.                                     
  • Use student, faculty, and legal feedback to develop the curriculum.                        
  • Offer the course.                                                                                            

 Tactic 2: Employ external legal counsel

  • Compile a list of law firms not on retainer to WSU.                                       
  • Of these firms, seek either probono or funding for a legal counsel.             
  • Establish a connection for direct designer/creative-legal counsel.                

 Tactic 3: Offer legal workshops for young entrepreneurs, designers, and creatives.

  • Contact Business Booster & Tech Transfer’s directors.                               
  • Analyze “customer” perspective and surveys.                                                         
  • Develop engaging and informative workshops.                                            
  • Offer workshops.

Strategy 6: Innovation Central Network

Project Lead: Austin Crane

 Connecting students with students or students with resources is the biggest problem with starting a startup at a university, the solution is to create an online environment of like minded students with other students and the universities resources. Students value their time more than they value anything and creating an online environment that they can search and post their needs will help save them time and give them multiple options to choose from.

 Short term tactics:

  • poll students and see what the need is for resources and founding members
  • poll current startups from the community that have found success and failure and see what could have helped them in the early stage of their startup
  • create a minimum viable product with a local startup

Long term tactics:

  • look at marketing to a global audience
  • implement it in other universities
  • create an app?
  • create a network within ACE or other organizations

The following link directs to the online environment previously mentioned:

Strategy 7: Improve and Initiate New Avenues of Inspiration and Innovation

Tactic #1 Unconference

Project Lead: Levi Lowe

There are no limits to individual creativity given a safe space to work and show off projects/hobbies. I believe that given a space to design in, and a group of individuals to support the mission, a mindset geared towards innovation and entrepreneurship can be instilled in each and every one of the individuals that step foot on campus here at WSU. We can achieve this and more through an unconference. Unconferences are events run by participants. Attendees set the agenda for what’s discussed, lead the sessions and workshops that fill the schedule, and create an environment of innovation and productive discussion. By creating open events geared towards showing off projects and hobbies, I believe that we can instill a sense of community and support among students and faculty.

Some of the key concepts behind the unconference would be:

  • Come and go event scheduled by the participants showcasing.
  • Anything goes. Students can show off projects they are working on, sell handmade friendship bracelets, or have a Nintendo Smash Brothers tournament.
  • Student organizations could host tables showcasing their groups.
  • General areas of interest such as: Hobbies, Projects, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship concepts.
  • Possibly invite community business leaders to judge/sponsor entrepreneurship ideas.

Tactic #2: TEDx Events

Project Lead: Saad Syed 

To inspire students with new ideas is a challenge that will always be ever evolving. At the same time there will always be resources available to organizations to help spark inspiration and innovation. We have identified one such event to be as evolving as the challenge itself. We believe starting a tradition of hosting a TedX event every year for all students will help create that culture of inspiration and innovation.

Short Term Tactics to Implement Strategy

  • Interview students of all discipline to gather data on ideas and topics for TedX event.
  • Research logistics of hosting TedX and similar events.
  • Engage administration to help facilitate event.

Long Term Tactics to Implement Strategy

  • Develop a plan for future fellows to take ownership of organizing and hosting event each year.
  • Develop plan to host smaller similar inspiration events throughout school year.

Strategy 8: WSU Ignite, an event that will excite students about innovation and familiarize them with the innovation and entrepreneurship resources that surround them

 Project Lead: Jocelyn Galicia

WSU Ignite is an event that will be held on campus over a span of two days. There are four main components to the event; a small scale music festival, film festival, startup competition, and a technology trade and demo show. The music and film components offer a choice of entertainment for students and encourage students that have no interest in innovation to attend. The other two components serve to transform the local and regional perception of WSU and create a campus culture shift that inspires students to think more innovatively. This will be done by showcasing and celebrating the amazing talents, resources, and current innovation occuring at WSU and all around the Wichita area. Overall, the event will serve as a flagship event for the new innovation campus.

Short Term Tactics:

  • Gather a minimum of  500 survey responses to demonstrate a need for an event such as this. 
  • Acquire a minimum of 1000 petition signatures.
  • Seek out sponsor support
  • Create a presentation for the proposition of the event
  • Have the event approved by WSU stakeholders
  • Seek out a group of motivated individuals to assist in event planning.
  • Sign up volunteers for the event
  • Create marketing materials
  • Plan out logistics and itinerary

Long Term Tactics:

  • Begin planning for the next year
  • Gather feedback from attendees to improve event
  • Create a committee and assign roles to ensure the event is held for years to come.

Strategy 9: Increasing about the plethora of I&E resources on campus

Tactic #1: Wu-Invent App

Project Lead: Kyle Kopecky and Will Valentine

A single app that brings together various silos of innovation and entreprenuership across campus in one cohesive space. Attending classes on the "Innovation Campus" at WSU, students have the desire to work across disciplines to create and innovate their every day lives. However, most are not aware of the vast resources that are at their disposal. Wu-Invent is a single app that will bring together the resources from every department across campus including engineering, business, the library, and more to increase student awareness and subsequently increase involvement in I&E.

Tactic #2: Wu Shocks Innovation Nation: The Orientation Experience

Project Lead: Jessica Aldrich

As WSU promotes the current additions to the university as the "Innovation Campus," students deserve to be involved in innovation culture from the moment they step on campus. During the mandatory orientation students would participate in Wu-Shocks Innovation Nation Design Experience. Students from every college are grouped together and tasked with helping Wu travel across campus, using all of the resources at their disposal along the way. After completion of the challenge, students would tour the campus and have the chance to se the resources first hand, tying their experience to the physical location of the resource.

Strategy 10: Encouraging student involvement within I&E opportunities on campus

Tactic #1: Wichita Maker Faire

Project Lead: Spencer Lueckenotto

Maker Faires are popular across the country, allowing individuals of all ages to come together to share I&E ideas with like-minded individuals.To ou knowledge, an event like this has never been done in Wichita or the surrounding areas. Hosting this event on campus would bring students and community members together in a unique space to share and collaborate on ideas. Strategy 11: Community Engagement and Involvement = Strategy 11: Community Engagement and Involvement.

Tactic #2: Innovation Curriculum

Project Lead: Mohd Sabra

Many of the engineering degrees at WSU require a senior design or capstone course that allows students to create an innovative product or process to meet needs within their field of study. However, outside of these courses, students in other disciplines do not have the same opportunity. By implementing an innovation centered curriculum, students across campus would be encouraged/required to participate in an Innovation Project. Multidisciplinary teams would work with mentors (faculty and industry professionals) on developing an innovative idea that would be presented at the Shocker New Venture Competition, or other similar events on campus. Outside of this, the teams would be judged/graded by their mentors and would receive course credit for the work. </span

Strategy 11: Community Engagement and Involvement

Tactic #1: ICT Innovation Monday

Project Lead: Austin Nordyke

For being a commuter-driven campus, WSU has little involvement with the surrounding community of Wichita. I&E opportunities that encourage collaboration between community members and WSU students, such as GoCreate, have flourished due to the cross-community incubator it has become. However, these spaces are few and far between. ICT Innovation Monday would open doors of local entrepreneurs and major corporations alike for students to learn about innovation and share their own ideas. Out of these collaborations, students would be exposed to new ideas and processes, be able to meet potential mentors and employers, and find like-minded individuals to pursue their ideas with. 

Strategy 12: Encourage Students to Embrace the Spirit of Innovation

Tactic #1: [IN]novation

For students to embrace a culture and truly feel like they are a part of something, you have to set a precedent from day 1. As potential new shockers visit WSU they have the opportunity to experience campus and the future that may lie ahead for them. [IN]nnovation is an initiative focused on potential new students and giving them a taste of what WSU is really about. During their campus visit, students will receive a 1in by 1in plastic square. On that square, they are asked to write their biggest hope for college on one side, and their biggest fear on the other. After their visit, the “token” is collected and stored until the beginning of semester. Students who are admitted and enrolled at WSU will have their “token” given to a student artist who will be charged with the responsibility of creating a work of art showcasing the hopes of all of the tokens combined. The fears will be to the inside of the work, with the idea in mind that as one part of a greater whole, the students can overcome any adversity and accomplish their biggest hopes and dreams.</span

Related Links

Wichita State University

Wichita State University Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

Spring 2018 Fellows

Spencer Lueckenotto

Kyle Kopecky

Jessica Aldrich

William Valentine

Spring 2017 Fellows

Kelsey Hanna

Isaac Carrillo

Mohamed Moustafa

Levi Lowe

Spring 2016 Fellows

Jesus Gomez

LaRissa Lawrie

Caylin Wiley

Michael Schlesinger

Jocelyn Galicia

Fall 2015 Fellows

Wesley Alexis

Austin Crane

Hannah Hund

Kevin Kraus

Saad Syed