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William Jewell College Strategic Priorities

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William Jewell College Project Pitch Spring 2017

Priority 1: Redesigning Curry Hall

What We Found

William Jewell recently hired a new president and her new focus is rebranding William Jewell. Recently, she approached our University Innovation Fellows group and asked us to rethink a massive space in our administration building.


We want to make this area an extension of the Pryor Learning Center (a study building on campus). Refitting it with newer technologies, what the incoming students what to have, and what old students feel it needs. We also plan to propose using the vacant area above the floor to extend on the project even more.

Next Steps

Ask students, "If you could have a 4th floor of the PLC, what would you want in it?"
Gain ideas for designing from the internet and elaborate on them to fill William Jewells campus and community.
Present to the Board of Trustees/Administration Team
Seek out funding.
Receive approval from administration.
            Have a newly renovated and furnished extension of the Pryor Learning Center in Curry Hall

Priority 2: Incorporating Design Teams in the Science/Engineering Departments 

The research that takes place on Jewell's campus is mostly individualized and only lasts a couple semesters. Our engineering department is only a year old and hasn't had enough time or initiative to grasp design teams yet because the students are still so young. But, teams include teamwork, leadership, and responsibility which leads to success as individuals and as groups.

Taking Initiative

Taking initiative on this project will require a lot of personal relationships. Over the next couple years, students could work alongside professors rather than underneath them in a class. If students come to professors with project ideas, there will be a lot more involvement and passion for the projects.

If students go to professors with projects, then they will enjoy the work. If they get shadowed during their research and replace themselves, they will feel much more inclined to act in a professional manner and explain their research thoroughly to those who will take their position. This will also allow the research to be continued over the years. We would like to get this idea out to students so that projects they're passionate about are integrated into the programs and they will hopefully be able to recruit mentees better to continue to fully develop projects that benefit themselves, professors, and the school.

One particular application is building community through team-based engineering competitions. The Civil Engineering program is in its first year at William Jewell, and we want to encourage interconnectedness among the majors and their peers. We think that giving the Civil Engineers significant involvement will help them generate a sense of identity. The Civil Engineering faculty are supportive of these programs and are eager to transition the group to national affiliation. Our fellows are currently taking a lead role in this development. 


A blog we found ( laid out how a business design team runs: there is the small group of directors, below them are the senior designers, and in the lowest section are the junior designers that are newest to the team. We thought we could redevelop this plan in terms of a science design time. We decided to do this in more of a ladder format rather than a pyramid. At the top of the ladder is the mentor/professor that leads the team and provides the tasks and goals of the group. The mentor brings in someone who they believe would benefit their team and teaches them the tasks while making them aware of the goals. The experienced researcher will then be heavily involved in teaching the newest researcher the ropes. Overtime, this would become a cycle as seniors graduate, juniors and sophomores ascend up the ladder, and freshmen fill empty positions. There are many benefits to our prototype such as continuous innovation to the research being done, practicing team-building, and learning through teaching.

Priority 3: Creating a College of the 21st and 22nd Century 

     Kansas City currently has some of the fastest internet in the United States. Thanks to Google Fiber and excellent city planning the high-tech industry in the KC areas has been rapidly expanding in recent years. Recent developments on the William Jewell campus and points of pride for the college are also focused on tech utility. In fall of 2013 the college opened its Pryor Learning Commons, a bookless library and collaborative space for its students and faculty. In 2014 it unveiled its Jewellverse initiative which vastly improved the college's wifi capabilities and equipped every student and faculty member with an iPad. The college's 24/7 innovation suites contain a free-to-use 3D-printer and digital media editing suites. The recent trend in the campus environment has been to be as tech savy as possible, yet with all of this technology being used on campus the only degree program in technology is the school's recently added interactive digital media degree. 

     Interviews with faculty, alumni, and students have shown that interest is high in the Jewell communiy for an increase in availability of computer science courses. Similarly, businesses such as Cerner are hard pressed to find locally-grown computer scientists. It is with this information that the 2015 Fall cohort is proposing a route to increase the presence of computer science courses on the William Jewell campus while simultaneously connecting William Jewell students to the best universities in the world.   

What do we mean by this? is a website that was co-founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. It allows the general public to take courses from the founding institutions as well as many other world-class universitites for free or at very low costs. The current version of this plan for technology course expansion has three phases. 

Phase 1

    One of the many computer science courses offered on is Harvard's famed CS50 which immerses students in different programming languages. Our goal is to create a system in which students can enroll in the certificate verified CS50 course and complete the graded course to receive P/F credit. The ideal program would send a professor and student to Harvard over the upcoming summer to take part in the CS50 education course through the Harvard Extension school and a single student every summer thereafter. The course would be structured as a tutorial style class, students watching the lectures and beginning their coursework outside of class and meeting twice a week to collaborate on their projects. At the the end of the semester the group would complete a project to improve campus. 

Phase 2

     Upon successful implementation of phase 1 the program would increase the accredited-courses offered at Jewell through CS50. Programs like R and statistic for hard sciences and Ruby for beginners. If phase 1 went exceptionately well, it would be possible to include non-computer science classes to increase the diversity of courses offered at Jewell. 

Phase 3

    Upon the completion of phases 1 and 2 and the culture of computer science has increased on Jewell's campus a degree program in computer science will be created. By offering a degree in computer science the college will enhance its position on the midwest and national stage and produce talented graduates with skill sets that fill the computer science needs of companies in the Kansas City area and beyond. 

Priority 4: Interdisciplinary Communication

Tactic 1: Building Relationships

Building relationships with leadership and faculty will allow for a means of entry into the faculty communication circle. Reaching out to faculty and attend a faculty meeting to open conversation about how William Jewell College can move from "polydisciplinary" - in which students are simultaneously engaged in many disciplines - to truly "interdiscplinary" - in which faculty and students connect disparate ideas and have investment in programs beyond the department.

Tactic 2: Pitching Interdisciplinary Ideas

Communicating between areas of study and departments for the purpose of collaboration will benefit the community by expanding the effects of the liberal arts approach at William Jewell College. Inviting faculty from other departments to lectures, shadow a class, collaborate on curriculum, and share ideas are the objectives of interdepartmental communication. For example, if a class is discussing a subject that relates to that of another discipline, it could be enriching to bring a faculty member from the other department to speak on the subject. Furthermore, if a department had a program that could be of interest to a student outside the major, faculty to faculty communication could facilitate communicating this program to their students.

Tactic 3: Unifying Silos

As students have expressed, they feel comfortable communicating with faculty in their own discipline, but are hesitant to contact those who are not in their disciple. Breaking down silos that block communication could aid in encouraging students talking to faculty in other disciplines. As William Jewell is a liberal arts institution, it is a goal of the college to create well rounded individuals who value critical thinking. This goal can be facilitated through accessibility to the whole faculty, not just those in one's department.

Priority 5: Effective Campus Communication

William Jewell College is a small campus with just 1100 students. Combined with centralized campus "heartbeats" like our digital library and student union, Jewell is a place in which one feels as if they are always plugged in to campus community. Ironically, Jewell campus initiatives have had a profoundly difficult time relaying information and motivating the student body to attend events. This, combined with the small size of the college, can produce lackluster engagement at events. In short, serendipity and word of mouth are both relied upon and coming up short when it comes to campus communications.

The Problem

One of main problems that we identified as a we completed our landscape canvas was the  problem of communication between the students and the administration. Often student would be frustrated by the lack of response and ability to communicate to the college administration. There’s no clear way for student to express their concerns and suggest change.

The Idea

In brainstorming ideas we found several ideas that would provide a small bandaid to the larger problem but the idea we believe to be the solution a comprehensive website that allows students to ask questions and get answers. In addition to the website a committee would be formed to address the submissions. This committee would be made up of students faculty and administration, every semester the committee would hold a public forum in which students could ask for the reasoning behind different responses. The website will provide students a public medium to interact with the administration while working with the average Jewell students busy schedule. The format will allow students to submit questions and comments anonymously or with their name attached, while students can upvote submissions they relate to.

Priority 6: Expanding Technology Resources

A problem that we identified on our campus is the lacking usability of existing technology coupled with the inability of students to access and learn about our resources. While our campus has embraces21stcenturytechnology, there is a disconnect between those resources and students’ knowledge. In some places, there is no explanation on how to use various forms of technology, and in othersthat information is poorly communicated. We decided to tackle this problem by implements a three-phase project that emphasizes the usability of existing resources, creates access to useful information, then once these are available will make it useful by hosting Pop-Up classes on both tech and software. This was students can learn to create useful products on their own without the need of an academic class. The flexibility of this will appeal to a large portion of the student body who wish to differentiate themselves in the vocational market with projects such as interactive resumes, video editing, web creation, and other creative suites.

Phase 1: Infrastructure Improvements

·         Cards with instructions next to tech

·         Updated availability of  tech in library

·         Increased Ellucian Go capabilities  

·         Posters displaying available tech

·         More Apple TVs around campus

·         Peripheral adapters to increase usability

·         TV "commercials" in Pryor Learning Commons

Phase 2: Aggregate Resources

·         How-to videos on Ellucian Go

·         Reserve rooms around campus through online form

·         Publish iTunes U links for resources regarding technology on campus

Phase 3: Pop-Up Classes on Technology and Software

·         Orientation introduction for both upperclassmen and first-years

·         Voluntary classes that partner with existing classes

·         Multiple sessions over both technology and software use


Related Resources

William Jewell College

William Jewell College Strategic Priorities


Alex Holden

Gretchen Mayes

Trevor Nicks

Benjamin Shinogle

Macy Tush

Bradley Dice

Spring 2017 Fellows: Megan Anderson, Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe, Conner Foote, William Hyde, Jesse Lundervold, Dalton Nelson, Erika Storvick, Denver Strong