How to Select a New Cohort of University Innovation Fellows and Groom them to Succeed
As a college student, you only have 4 (or sometimes more) years in college. As a UIF, you have even less than that to become a change maker at your school. When you graduate, you’ll need somebody, or multiple people to continue all of the work that you’ve done as a UIF. This page serves as a ‘How To’ guide for selecting and grooming the next UIFs at your university.
One of the hardest things about selecting new UIF Candidates is gauging their ability to become successful Fellows. In previous UIF’s experiences, the students who will make the best UIFs are those who bring a true passion and desire to help change engineering and entrepreneurship education. These students also tend to have strong work ethics, and are willing to sacrifice their time to ensure that they can become change makers.
The best way to spread information about recruiting new UIFs and continuing your legacy is simply to host publicized events at your university. By hosting events and maintaining strong connections with your university’s public relations teams, students who are interested in becoming the next UIFs will attend all of your events. Pay particular attention to those students who are especially engaged, ask you questions, and show genuine interest in your work. These are the students who will most likely not only want to continue the work you’ve started, but also improve upon it and take you work to the next level.
Once you do have your next UIF candidates, or once you’ve identified students you think could be the next UIFs at your school, it’s best to welcome them to the community, and treat them as an equal. Give them a task that you need to do, or one that you had thought of with your faculty advisors or leadership circle, but simply did not have time to do. Once they begin to understand the work of being a UIF, they’ll be better prepared for both training and their work as a UIF once launched.
Although you might think having more and more UIFs at your school would be the best option, sometimes it might not be. There are a few reasons why having too many innovation fellows could lead to problems at your school. Too many fellows could lead to it being a struggle for everyone to meet as a leadership circle and continue to make solid progress as being a group of change agents. Additionally, funding might be a limited resource at your school, and as a group, you want to ensure that you are able to both complete training successfully and continue on to make major change and be able to attend the in-person meet-ups. These can be costly for your university, especially if your school is far from California. Needs for number of UIFs and amounts of funding vary, so use your best judgment as to deciding how many UIFs work best for at your university.
Written By: Jason Weis