Priorities:CSM Strategic Priorities

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategic Priorities for the Colorado School of Mines


Vision for the Colorado School of Mines

Fall 2021

As the sole member of the Fall 2021 Cohort, Adam Schwartz is looking to expand academic majors and opportunities to further match the needs of students and the future trajectory of the economy, particularly in the energy sector. Opportunities to expand Majors, Minors, Areas of Special Interest, industry connections, and societies of engineers in unrepresented industries are all under thorough review. The project Adam is most interested in is getting a Renewable Energy Area of Special Interest in the immediate future, with key tactics of collaborating with academic departments, enthusiastic faculty, and industry experts. Raising awareness and gauging need of this project are critical components.

Fall 2020


Fall 2018


Spring 2018



Spring 2017


Spring 2016

Growing Mines into a Learning Organization

CSM Mind Map.jpg

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Mindset

TedX-Style Platform

There is currently not a forum on the campus of CSM where students can go to hear productive discussions on topics that are generally off-the-table for STEM students. A platform of this sort would serve to broaden the horizons of Mines students and introduce them to new ideas and challenge them to think critically about the large issues that face society and the responsibility that Mines students have as future technical professionals of these societies. Speakers on this platform would be professors, public intellectuals, and selected students. If the turnout is great enough, debates could even be held on this platform with the assistance of a well-equipped moderator. The goal of establishing a platform like this would be to help change the way that Mines students think about the broader contexts of society, the very foundation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We would love to see a club created with a faculty champion to help make this group a little less transient as well as aggregate a list of potential topics and speakers to populate events on campus through polling with the Mines student body.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Curriculum

Freshmen Success and EPICS Reform

Every first-year student here at the Colorado School of Mines must complete the courses of CSM 101: Freshmen Success Seminar and EPICS I. CSM 101 focuses on connecting and adjusting students to the collegiate landscape. Epics I intends to "Introduce a design process that includes open-ended problem solving and teamwork integrated with the use of computer software as a tool to solve engineering problems. The course emphasizes written technical communications and introduces the importance of effective oral presentations."

EPICS exists as one of the least rated courses on the Mines campus and CSM 101 exists as a class that many freshmen see as unhelpful. Current reforms are seeking to change this reality. The short-term objective concerning these classes is to fully push these reforms through.

The prospect of CSM 101 is being expanded from a 0.5 credit hour course to a 1 credit hour course. The addition of time in this course is intended to increase the capability of the course's instructors to provide more detailed instruction concerning freshman success. Current University Innovation Fellows hope to work with CASA and the Peer Mentor program, the two organizations that run CSM 101, to add greater instruction and curriculum concerning the innovation atmosphere at the Colorado School of Mines. 

Current University Innovation Fellows are working to make design thinking a greater part and emphasis of the EPICS I curriculum. Small steps are currently being taken toward this goal, with some trials occurring during the 2018 Spring Semester. The hope of this initiative is to allow and enable more students to create meaningful projects through the EPICS program. Another divergence from the normal EPICS curriculum is a new push to combine the EPICS class with the Nature and Human Values (NHV) class, an ethics class all undergraduates must take. This combined approach focuses on expounding on design thinking by making the advent of human-centered design a greater piece of the course.

Last edited February 2018

Innovation Workshops and Speakers

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Clubs

Mission Makerspace 

Existing makerspaces cater to the general theme of supporting entrepreneurship and innovation on an entry level through a means of mechanical design. With utilizing 3D printers and basic prototyping materials most of the design process centers around mechanical engineering and leaves opportunity for other disciplines to pursue innovation. With the introduction of mission themed makerspaces we create an opportunity for like minded students to connect through common passions. Logistically these makerspaces would be decorated and supplied with relevant materials related to their mission theme. Themes related to career pursuits could include but are not limited to

-Thermodynamic and Fluid flow

-Medicine and the Medical Field

-Geological processing and Extraction

-Electricity and Energy

-Instrumentation and physical design

-Coding and mathematical analysis

Many of the makerspaces available only support a small number of students that are pursuing a broad subject of study. With the introduction of mission specific design spaces that are either created from scratch or repurposed to bring like minded people together under one common mission. These spaces would also likely serve as a hub for students enrolled in similar courses to study and connect with others in their major/interest group. These spaces would also likely serve as a further support to existing clubs and organizations in a means of helping them pursue entrepreneurship and expand on their own innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration.

CSM 101 Reform Entrepreneurship Class 

Our school has a strong passion for engineering and innovation, but sometimes this gets lost in the busy school work in major specific classes. However, if there was a class that students had an option to go through as a new college student, then there is a good chance that the innovative atmosphere around campus would change for the better. I’m proposing a new class that students can enroll in that teaches them the fun and exciting things about changing the way the world works. This class would allow students to explore their own interests all while taking their introductory classes -- potentially sparking a new interest them that they hadn’t noticed before. Ideally, these classes would be taught by passionate students (UIF?) that could employ the following:

  • Brainstorming an idea you would like to create
  • Designing/troubleshooting that idea, and solving those problems
  • Building a potential model with other students and actually having fun in the class -- make it not feel forced.
  • If successful, getting funding from the school to actually create a real model

These students would choose to take this class, so you would be surrounded by others that share a similar passion. This would be a fantastic way to better improve the innovative atmosphere around our school.

I&E In Class Conferences

As freshman, there is a lot on the plate for new students, with school work, and overall adjusting to the new rigorous schedule. The idea behind in class conferences is to get teachers, and other experienced professionals to go beyond the lecture of the class and actually talk about their own life experiences and ideas behind I&E. Especially as a freshman, getting teachers, who are often feared and seen as infallible, to discuss their own I&E experiences, including their failures, would be a great way to get other students to become involved in I&E. If each teacher in the general classes spent one day talking about their own creations (PHD,etc), failures, and triumphs, it would be a great way to get students motivated and involved outside of homework. While we have lectures going on outside of class, freshman are not pushed to go to them due to their busy schedule, but if we brought the inspiration to them, it would be a big motivating factor.

Democratize Learning

Open Access Education Resources

Maker Mart and Community Make and Share


Electronic Communication Systems

Think Tank

In the near future, we hope to establish a committee of innovation interests on campus in order to increase cooperation between the interconnected clubs and organizations that make up our campus' entrepreneurship community. We intend to invite several representatives from clubs, departments, and organizations focused on increasing innovation on campus to join a "Think Tank" mediated by University Innovation Fellows and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

Last edited February 2018

STEAM Studio: Visual Arts

In addition the current Maker Spaces on campus, we want to create a Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) space on campus. The plan for this space is to will it with high-quality printing, graphic design, and other art equipment. The goal of this space is to allow students to create logos, posters, and advertisements (in addition to other art projects) for their projects and/or businesses. This space will be run and managed by students for students. 

Last edited February 2018

I&E Newsletter 

The problem we are trying to solve is the lack of clubs (specifically I&E), and I&E community around our campus . There is a big interest in I&E, however there is no support system to inform students about new ideas/organizations on campus. Connecting interested students would create a foundation for others to come together and design, create, and build.The solution is to create a newsletter that informs students of upcoming I&E, as well as other club events. Currently students remain in the dark about innovation around campus so this would allow them to have access and pursue some of the activities going on. The problem being addressed here is one that our cohort was extremely excited about. Addressing the lack of I&E communication around campus is something that we initially stated as the biggest obstacle in getting students interested in these types of activities. Students on our campus seem extremely interested in I&E, and actually exposing them to others who share a similar passion is a great way to spark other ideas of innovation. We look forward to further pursuing ways to make our prototype a reality.

How do we ALL define "Entrepreneurial Mindset"?

Active Symbols

We want to create a permanent active symbol to represent the changing innovation landscape on our campus. The campus itself is currently undergoing a large amount of projected expansion and construction. As University Innovation Fellows, we wish to fund and construct a work of art (statue, painting, mural, etc.) to encompass these changes and to encourage our students to think about innovation and entrepreneurship on a daily basis.

Last edited February 2018 

Robust Advisory Network

Academic Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cadre

Coach/Mentor Pool

Club Growth Workshops

Alumni Involvement


Short-Term Strategy: Sparking Interest

Enable students by creating a collaborative space for creativity, design, and innovation.


1. Foster ideas, collaboration and creativity for students of all disciplines.

2. Create and sustain a culture of doing, making, innovation and entrepreneurship.

3. Promote learning-by-doing and provide resources to enable students to transform ideas into products that could be commercialized.

Many of the most forward-thinking companies provide spaces for employees that encourage innovation. Well-designed spaces often serve as catalysts for enhanced collaboration and innovation. We will create collaborative spaces for students that allow for greater creativity, design and innovation on campus. By holding events and meetings in the spaces, students across all disciplines will begin to use the spaces to work with others' projects.

In addition to having a few dedicated spaces, there are several common areas on campus that would make excellent pop-up spaces. We will provide guides and resources for students to successfully create a temporary collaborative space of their own anywhere on campus.

Mechanical Engineering Design Lab

In collaboration with Professor Jered Dean of Mechanical Engineering, the senior design lab has evolved into a collaborative workspace for student projects, meetings, workshops and classes. The space has open hours, allowing students from every major and grade level to collaborate on academic or personal projects.


There will be a trial run for a MakerSpace to be implemented on campus. If this space is a success, the Mines UIF leadership circle will analyze feedback around the space and try to implement a permanent building for design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship with a floor dedicated to being a functional MakerSpace.

Creative Space

Although Mines has a lot of workshop and maker spaces, there is not really anywhere for our more artsy students to go. I think it would be beneficial to have an area with various art supplies to allow students a creative outlet. After surveying students, I found that many would like to see instruments, a vast range of art supplies (different paper, cardboard, paints, etc), and even possibly a rehearsal space and a sound-proof room.

Establish regular Design, Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (DICE) events

By collaborating with organizations and faculty across campus, we will hold events that expose students to proven concepts and principles that lead to truly innovative solutions. Having regular events will help foster a community of innovation and entrepreneurship that doesn't often occur in a traditional lecture setting. 

Leveraging existing student organizations to put on DICE events

There are numerous campus organizations (SWE, AIChE, SPE, EWB, Tau Beta Pi, Blue Key) that have the resources to organize successful DICE events to increase opportunities for student innovation. These events could include makeathons, hackathons, design challenges, business model competitions, and many more.

An Entrepreneurship Club has recently been established by the Mines student body that has been key partners in developing events to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Problem of the Week

To change the student mindset on campus, we will start holding pop-up meetings in high-traffic areas to discuss a "Problem of the Week." We will increase exposure to, and engagement with, problem-focused design by allowing students the ability to stop by and participate without any major commitment. The pop-up meetings can be expanded to allow for low-resolution prototyping, using arts and crafts or video. Images from the pop-up events will be posted online. The pop-up meetings will also serve as advertisement for other DICE events.

Design Weekend

Currently, there is no coordination between EPICS and other design courses across campus to exhibit student projects; that needs to change. A campus-wide exhibition, open to the community, will provide students from all disciplines with the opportunity to showcase their projects, and also strengthen the culture of design, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship on campus.


Previously, University Innovation Fellows have seen success in improving the innovation and entrepreneurial landscape on their campuses by hosting a TEDx event. A lot of student interest in TED already exists, and this interest can be leveraged to make a successful event to serve as inspiration for the university. A TEDx event can be focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, to inspire a campus community, by showcasing examples of innovative faculty research, successful entrepreneurial alumni and current students who have commercialized technology and achieved positive economic, societal and environmental impact.

3 Day Startup: 3DS Springboard 

3DS Springboard is an interactive workshop focused on the beginning steps of launching a company or a project through on-campus innovation. During four 90-minute sessions over one week, students will learn-by-doing with the 3DS team, Epicenter University Innovation Fellows leaders on campus, and other students in the community who are passionate about starting something!

Promoting Creativity and Mental Health

Creativity / De-stress Zone

By creating a space on campus where students can find resources to stimulate the creative, right side of their brains, we will increase both creativity and mental health on campus. In this space, students will find board games, puzzles, art supplies, instruments and other resources to de-stress and create. 

Next Steps: Institutional Acceptance and Support for DICE

Update design classes to incorporate modern design & development principles

Most students attending Mines are exposed to design in EPICS I, EPICS II (including Department-Specific EPICS II) and Senior Design. Only a few of the curriculums incorporate the following ideas/processes widely practiced in the industry: design-thinking, problem-focused design, rapid and low-resolution prototyping, fast failure and lean principles. Incorporating all of these practices into the curriculum would properly prepare students to develop truly innovative solutions to real problems. The design courses could allow for more creativity and innovation by shifting from constraining projects to open-ended, problem-based projects. 

Grow and expand the academic entrepreneurship offering

According to the Undergraduate Bulletin, there is an “Area of Special Interest (ASI) in Entrepreneurship” that consists of 3 classes that are not currently offered.

To demonstrate that entrepreneurship is a priority to the University and the Department of Economics and Business, the ASI needs to be updated and promoted. There are several course offerings focused on design-thinking and entrepreneurship that should be incorporated into a certificate program, minor or area of special interest for entrepreneurship.

Ideally, the entrepreneurship program would incorporate a multidisciplinary senior design alternative course that allows students from any major to apply principles from the engineering and entrepreneurship curriculums.

The recent courses added to the Mines community includes:

  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Intro to Entrepreneurship

Creation of Grand Challenges Themed Learning Community

Mines requires all first-year students to live on campus in the residence halls. Programs that promote design, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship can be put in place for interested students living on campus. Mines has several themed learning communities, and a community focused on the NAE's Grand Challenges would have a large impact in creating a sustainable culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The community is in its second year on campus and is thriving. The students in this community have a tight bond created through floor activities as well as an engineering design and ethics course where the students have many opportunities to work together to solve varying problems. This program has also served as a resource for students who wish to become from active in the entrepreneurial community.

Establish a speaker series for design, innovation and entrepreneurship

Creating a regular speaker series focused on design, innovation and entrepreneurship will develop interest, as well as connect the entrepreneurial community within Mines to current students in other disciplines. Many Mines alum and faculty have relevant experience and insight, which could inspire a new generation of makers, doers and entrepreneurs. A series focused on I&E would be a multidisciplinary initiative that would have wide-spread support across campus, due to the universal nature of I&E principles.

Innovation Challenge

Mines' first Innovation Competition took place in Spring 2016. 10 teams were awarded money to begin prototyping in hopes of starting their own company or patenting their design.

Business Workshop

A business workshop will be taking place in Spring 2016 that works through the business model canvas with groups of students that have a product or idea for a company.

Mental Health on Campus

No Work Zone

One idea we are currently pursuing is the creation of a "No Work Zone." This would be a place for students on campus to take a break and relax. Mines is a highly esteemed engineering school which promotes intense focus on academics. Many study and design areas are located around campus. We don't any of these spaces to be taken away, but we do want a new space to be implemented.

Our goal for this space is to make mental health a bigger priority on campus. Students commonly express their levels of stress, but there are not many resources on campus to help combat the high-pressure work environment.

Currently, we are acquiring feedback on this initial idea to see if it would be feasible, and more importantly, if it would benefit students. After this period, we plan to take the idea to stakeholders on campus.

Buddy System

Incoming freshmen and transfer students can opt-in to the “buddy system” - possibly called Mines Mates. They would be paired with a current Mines student who could help the new student with anything and everything. Whether they need help finding a class, desire a study buddy, or just want someone to talk to. The buddy would be the new students' go-to person. Unlike peer mentors, the buddy would only have one student, allowing for more personal interactions.

Career Videos for Freshmen at Mines; CSM 101 Lesson

Many students face trouble on choosing a major - not just because they are scared of taking certain classes, but because they realize for the major that they have chosen, what they do in the industry is not what they wish to do. To help with this, there can be outreach made by Mines to Mines Alumni to record a videos of their day/conduct an interview of their life in the industry (we would collect videos from all majors offered at Mines). These videos will be set as Canvas modules for the CSM 101 classes as a Lesson Plan, for students to watch a few videos for majors that they themselves are interested in.

The ultimate goal is to help offer insight for students to understand what life is like in the industry, with a guidance of showing what each major does in the industry. This is planned to not cost the school anything, but to unite the departments, Alumni, and students in helping the future in knowing the direction in which they wish to pursue in life. This is in the hopes that this topic will alleviate the stress of students from choosing a specific major that they would hope to strive for.

A prototype was created to show an example of what these videos can look like (see link below).

Long-term Vision

Create a multidisciplinary Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship institute

The establishment of a multidisciplinary design institute will allow for the creation of a modern engineer that is equipped to develop solutions to complex real-world problems. Having a design institute would make Mines the premier institution for engineering and applied-science education.

Many of the nation's best engineering schools have a program or institute for design, innovation or entrepreneurship:

Stanford -
MIT - Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
Harvard - Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH)
UC Berkeley - Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology
Michigan - Center for Entrepreneurship
Georgia Tech - Enterprise Innovation Institute
North Carolina State - Engineering Entrepreneurs Program EEP
Illinois - Technology Entrepreneurship Center 
CU Boulder - eship program

The Colorado School of Mines has the opportunity to become a national leader for design, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Related Links

Colorado School of Mines Wiki Page

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Corey Brugh

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Daniel Dickason

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Tara Maestas

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Asya Sergoyan

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Nicholas Yuan

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Trevor Clevenger

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Sarah Ingram

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Emma May

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Tanner McAdoo

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Samuel Warfield

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Michael Thuis

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Torin Johnson

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Curtis Harrison 

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Adam Marcinkowski

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Jake Ropson

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Keenan Urmann

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Miguel Moreira

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Anastasia Sjahputera

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Connor Smith

Colorado School of Mines University Innovation Fellow - Sarena Nguyen

Related links