Priorities:Iona University Student Priorities

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Iona University is a private, four-year Catholic college in New Rochelle, NY. In 1940, it was founded by the Congregation of Christian Brothers and today offers more than 60 bachelor's programs and 40 minors. Iona is comprised of the School of Arts & Science and the LaPenta School of Business. The institution has approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in it.

The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation was established in 2017 due to a generous $15 million gift to Iona from James Hynes, '69, '01H, and Anne Marie Hynes. The Hynes Institute is an emerging force that strives to prepare the future generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders to move the world. It also ensures that students develop the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to create, lead, and innovate in an ever-changing global economy.

At the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, their mission is “to create and foster an interdisciplinary community of Iona students who engage in entrepreneurial learning opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset."

Strategic Priorities 2023

Strategy 1: Classes offered with Innovation & Experience, the introduction into more entrepreneurial mindset and innovative classes that set students up for success.

Work with Iona University and the Hynes institute on creating class options for students who want a more catered experience into entrepreneurship and innovation mixed with real world class options to give students the hands on experience they need. We would need to reach out and work with the provost and IT offices to create an option on Peoplesoft. This will also give students the option to request class options that might no be available at Iona.

Strategy 2: Gaels on the Go; an app that connects all activities on campus in one centralized location.

Create an app that consists of campus news/events, student news/events, academic calendar, student life calendar, athletics, blackboard, and office 365. This will be done through the collaboration of the IT department, provost office and Center for Student Engagement. Students would also have access to a feedback channel that allows departments to know what's missing. This will be promoted across all of campus screens as well as a part of the orientation package given to incoming students. This creates a simple and central place for students to remain informed.

Strategy 3: Gael Report, a survey that collects feedback on new campus policies and lets students voice their opinions

Seeing what ideas the campus has in store that will directly impact students, giving the students the appropriate information as to how President and those in charge came to that conclusion and allowing them to either choose from options and or giving them the chance to write an idea that might be used in place of the existing one. This will be implemented through the CSE and those in charge.

Strategic Priorities 2022

  • Strategy number 1: Create internal connections: On Campus Network building. Collaborate with the center for student engagement and Gael Activity Board:

Plan and execute networking event: Part 1: Informational session regarding the importance of community in developing networks and careers. Students will be given tips on how to optimize their linked in/indeed profiles. Part 2: Student networks will be formed by a facilitator or event host. Interactive games and activities will give students an idea of who they wish to connect with and form their networking teams.

  • Strategy number 2:Create external connections: Connect networks to the Gaels Go further Mentoring Program

Once student networks have been formed, each student will create a Gaels Go further profile. These teams will have access to Iona's Alumni and industry leaders. Instead of each student being assigned one mentor, the network teams will be able tot talk with multiple mentors from different sectors.

  • Strategy Number 3: Application: The main objective of each network is to control and execute a site visitation. With the assistance of department chairs, professional alumni, and networks, students will engage with one organization that they will visit at the end of the semester.

Engage external partners to provide insights. Part 1) Cite visitation by the network Part 2) Present to stakeholders their visitation learnings.

  • Strategy Number 4: All the networks will have a closing dinner in which they will discuss each network's experience and findings. Students will also share their personal experiences in the program and how they benefited from their communities.

Strategic Priorities 2021

Strategy #1: Creating Event Portal to increase accessibility to students about student activities.

Reaching out to the VP of Marketing and Communications.

  • After stakeholder meeting with Mary Clare Reilley, has already gone out live on the student portal.
  • Graduate students will now be added to the Listserv for campus activities.

Strategy #2: Bridging the gap between cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students.

There is a lack of communication regarding campus wide collaboration. We would like to help students have a sense of belonging to their campus.

Strategy #3: Fully utilize campus resources (campus screens throughout campus) to instantly communicate events and increase awareness.

Overall, IONA is known for its sports and connecting students through campus screens and social media. There is under-utilized dead space on campus and a lack of awareness.

Strategic Priorities 2020

Strategy #1: Creating community by increasing interdisciplinary programs and events that incorporate a wider range of knowledge.

Reaching out to OSD and propose a virtual or in-person event when all disciplines are welcome to showcase their field.

Strategy #2: Increase communication between professors and students regarding research opportunities and events

There is a lack of communication regarding professor's outside endeavors and research that could be more beneficial for students and connecting them to other professionals in their field.

Strategy #3: Facilitate all of the information regarding campus organizations and club events into one, simple, easy access hub or app.

Reach out to key stakeholders on campus (James Mustich, Provost Wheeler) and propose the idea for an all-inclusive app that allows clubs to post their events for that week and allow for interaction of students and convenience in seeing all events happening on campus

Strategic Priorities 2019

Strategy #1: Academic Social Media

Develop a platform for Iona students to build relationships with each other and gain mentors through faculty and successful alumni.  It will be promoted through acceptance letters/emails, orientation, promotional events and fliers.  Students will then sign up to our schools platform to stay connected and receive support on their track towards their diploma.  This platform will be using an existing website implemented by the Hynes Institute called startup tree.

Strategy #2: Introduce “Design Thinking Tasks” at Freshmen Orientations

Orientation leaders would be trained with premade lesson plans facilitated by us.  Our lesson plans will be concise and consist of design thinking tasks/challenges.  Ideally, the freshmen would work together in groups to figure out creative ways to solve problems through multiple design thinking methods and challenges.  This will be used to introduce entrepreneurship and help motivate them to get more involved with entrepreneurship on campus in the future.   
Initially, we would train our orientation leaders with what the lesson plans we made consist of along with actually teaching them about entrepreneurship to ensure an authentic reciprocation from the orientation leaders to the incoming freshmen.  We would collaborate with the orientation leaders and faculty and explain to them the lesson plan and how it could be incorporated with their activities.  Through prior training of the orientation leaders before the actual orientation this would ensure the feasibility of it continuing annually.  
Strategy #3: Mix it Up…

The syllabus is arguably the most important part of any course or lecture at any college or university setting. If it is the first thing that is reviewed and/or looked at to get a general idea of the lecture/course structure, why not incorporate entrepreneurship and innovation in some way and tie it into the task at hand. Keeping in contact with faculty as well as the administration would allow the students to produce and think outside the box despite the major.  Working along the side of professors to ensure clarity of how we could collaboratively integrate entrepreneurship within their preset topics on their syllabus or how we can incorporate a design thinking method to fit their lesson.  This is mixing up the traditional ways of lecturing to a more fun, interactive and creative way to learn. 

Strategy #4: Introducing Innovative Games

After overviewing the orientation schedule, we are able to see that innovative games aren’t being introduced to incoming students. Playing innovative games are a  fun way to build confidence, be creative, collaborate and  find your passions. Some games that can be played include giving  students legos or jenga pieces in to spark creative building. Giving students “The Big Creativity Can”, or  Play-Doh that can help them  prototype ideas they may have already. A Marshmallow Challenge where students work in teams to create the tallest tower with only string, tape, spaghetti and marshmallows. The Wallet Challenge were students team up to design a wallet suitable to the partners needs, These innovative games  allow  students to be introduced  to creative thinking  through simple objects. 

Strategy #5

We can ideate with our stakeholders the mapping of executing a design challenge program at orientation. We can pitch this program glimpse into entrepreneurship during freshman orientation. So that new students on campus are more comfortable by being exposed to entrepreneurship in a fun, creative and challenging way. Also incorporating an activity like this will provide variety to the current schedule on campus where incoming freshmen are simply consuming information. This program will be a hands-on activity that will be effective towards community building and communication.

Strategy #6: Live Questionnaire with...
Orientation at Iona is a 2-day event allowing students to get situated and comfortable with the environment around them. There are 6 sessions that tackle different events on the first and  on the second day. This strategic priority would be great as it is very inexpensive and only requires fitting in with the schedule already provided for orientation and sitting in a designated area to engage the freshman. These activities will be taken out strategically and in a way that would engage the freshman’s recollection of their favorite changemakers or entrepreneurs what they liked about the entrepreneurs’ innovative solution to their problem. 
This in turn, would create a sense of possibility at the campus with the students constantly being reminded that they have a career ahead of them and should decide to use it wisely. With these questions and activities and activities at the orientation they would be asked what they would have done if they were in the shoes of the entrepreneur being described at hand. Thus, creating more senses of self-empowerment, opportunity and the ability to envision.

Strategic Priorities 2018

Strategy #1: Introduce a campus wide Club Competition

Team Leader: CEO at Iona - The Entrepreneurship Club

Reach out to the Office of Student Development and collaborate with the Hynes Institute to create competition guidelines

Submit a funding proposal to the Office of Student Development and the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation to secure funding for the prize(s)

Reach out to club presidents and have them organize teams within their club


Strategy #2: Introduce a "Flip It to Win It" Challenge

Team Leader: TBD

Incorporate this challenge into the Columba Cornerstone class, a class all freshmen or first-year students take

Have professors include this challenge into the course in a way that relates to the theme of the Columba Cornerstone class

In one class session, have the professor guide students through an ideation session, teach them how to analyze an environment, and have them identify a problem(s). In another class, have the professor teach students about how to pitch and sell an idea, product, or service.


Strategy #3: Community Sales Initiative for a Sustainable Future

Team Leader: TBD

Residential Hall Directors will be contacted in order to implement this plan on campus; They will then relay the message to their students for at least a week, and then the project will begin.

Post Flyers in all residence halls and buildings, making everyone aware of the campus-wide competition

Residential Hall Directors let tell RA’s to spread awareness at floor meetings

Get list of all competing floors throughout campus

RA’s must bring recyclables from each day to a pickup location in their building


Strategy #4: Giant “Marshmallow Challenge”

Team Leader: CEO at Iona - The Entrepreneurship Club

Students participate in this activity through campus events already in place. Examples include homecoming, spring weekend, and involvement fairs.

Students participate through a specifically organized event for this exercise on campus. This event can take place in during the grand opening ceremony for the new location of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

This could be part of a larger exercise which also connects other students on campus such as Greek Life. This activity can serve as a unification process during events typically known as “Greek Week.”


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