Priorities:Kent State University Strategic Priorities

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Kent State University is quickly evolving it’s entrepreneurship and innovation scene on campus. Home to a variety of events and organizations working to develop a community of cross disciplinary creators and thinkers. Kent is home to Kent Hack Enough, the largest hackathon in Ohio. It is one of the only, if not the only, school to have a University specific Makers Faire. The issue is that the university is very decentralized, so every department and college acts as a separate entity and communication is sometimes lacking. Each part of the University has events and groups that are actively doing cool things, but it is very difficult to join all of the different groups on campus as one. This issue expands across Kent State University's main campus as well as between all 8 regional campuses. Kent is beginning to recognize and celebrate it’s makers and entrepreneurs more than ever before, it just needs to develop a way to get more of a community involved in the conversation.

Project Pitch Videos


Strategy: REAL Collaboration

Relative Experience and Learning Collaboration is a class for Sophmores and up. Much like a capstone class this class would focus on a semester long project. However this class would combine people from different majors to be put onto teams to work on a project. Projects may consist of actual jobs from companies such as designing a product, solving a problem, researching and implementing tools ect. These projects could be gathered from companies but don't necessarily have to be projects that currently need done or may be past projects the company already worked on. The class would work in tandum with a company to report to them as well as a professor or student aid.

Why: After landscaping the University I see that we have a lot of resources but not enough people use them. I also see a lot of potential in our students to use their knowledge but never do. Having a class that grabs people from different majors to work on something would be highly beneficial to students as well as being able to solve real world problems with the skills they have.

Milestone 1: Planning [February - August]

We need to work with the university to see if this class would be possible in regards to credit hours, replacing other classes, and possibly providing a benefit for the university itself. Plan class application if needed.

The curriculm needs to be planned, advisors need to inform students, companies need to be contacted to help.

Milestone 2: Alpha [August - December]

First class. The initial class should be small, 2-4 groups of 3-5 people each. This would be a test run to see what works and what doesn't. We will work out the kinks of working with a company as well as reporting progress on the projects. This will help refine a system for future classes. Continue to work with advisors to promote class.

Milestone 3: Assesment [December - January]

Review class with students and company. See what worked and what didn't work. Make adjustments for future classes. Approach more companies. Go through applications for class

Milestone 4: Beta [January- March]

Second class. Test new system. Promote internships through skill building and working with companies. Continue to refine class. 

Strategy: Innovation Space to Foster Developing Maker Community

One project that has been rapidly gaining interest is a need for a space for students to work collaboratively. This kind of space would get all interested parties in the same room working together. Kent State University's campus has some spaces for students to work in, but they're either located within departments and not open to most students or too crowded to foster true creativity. 

Tactic 1: Traditional Makerspace

Makerspaces are popping up everywhere these days. Near Kent State there is Case Western Reserve University's Thinkbox space and Youngstown Business Incubator's makerspace. Even closer is Synhak, Akron's public makerspace. Kent does not have a single space dedicated to creativity and innovation. There is currently a makerspace committee on campus consisting of various Deans and faculty from around the university discussing ideas for a makerspace

I image a Kent State University makerspace as an open, comfortable space to work in with a variety of resources right there in the space. The space would ideally be in the library or another building near the middle of campus. It would look brightly colored with tables, chairs, and couches. Some resources available would include prototyping machines like 3D printers, laser cutters, wide format printers etc, as well as small electronics like arduinos and raspberry pis. The space would have mannequins and scrap art supplies. Students would come to the space on their own in their free time to work on projects. The space would have to be open late hours so it could be accessible to students when they have time to use it. 

There are a few issues with creating a traditional makerspace. First of all, there currently exists no large, open space to develop one. Additionally, all the machines, resources, venue, and security would bring high start up costs. There has been a lot of interest in developing a space like this from all different departments, but crowdsourcing/crowdfunding for a model like this would be very expensive and time consuming. There are a lot of politics and bureaucracy when dealing with so many different departments from one school. Because of these factors, development and idea generation is taking a very long time.. 

Tactic 2: Mobile Innovation Van

Another tactic that has been discussed is the idea of a mobile makerspace. This would be a van with a 3D printer and other small resources that would travel around campus and between regional campuses. The van would be more so an inspirational resource than a typical makerspace would. 

This model of a makerspace is cheap and viable. It is unique because it would create a bridge connecting different areas of the main campus as well as the other regional campuses. The operating costs are fairly low. However, it limits the number of students able to use the space at once and it would be harder to access with it moving all the time. This model would not engage as many students as a static space would. 

Tactic 3: Circular Whiteboard Kiva

Another kind of space that would fill the need for an innovation center would be a whiteboard kiva. This would look like a circular space sectioned off in a bigger, open space. Inside the circle, the walls would be all whiteboards, allowing for easy active collaboration. Inside the circle would be comfortable chairs, allowing people to sit and be comfortable but encouraging them to stand up and be actively creating. 

This kind of model would be ideal for a smaller department, like Computer Science. Opening up a space like this would encourage students to think more collaboratively and creatively. It is cheap and viable, with no operating costs. It would also need to have late hour availability to provide real value to students. This model also limits the number of students and would not fully satisfy the needs of the campus. 

Tactic 4: Barebone Coworking Space

A coworking space eliminates many of the high costs of a more traditional makerspace while still providing students with the value and community space they're seeking. A coworking space at Kent State University would look similar to the fourth floor of the library (a large, open space with lots of seating and tables). Students and possibly even parties from outside of the university would rent a table or space within the room. They would decorate and fill the space with any materials and resources they want. It wouldn't require all the machines and resources as a traditional makerspace, although it would have the potential to expand to that kind of model in the future. 

This space would also need late hours and maybe security, but other than that there would be few costs involved. A model like this would have the pure intention to provide the students with a place to be creative and work outside of their dorms/apartments. Student organizations could gather here and students would be able to see each other's activities due to the close proximity. 

Strategy: Virtual Community Support

There are significant challenges involved in the above projects. These all require resources and locations that haven't been gathered or even sought out yet. In the meantime, Kent State University would provide support for the maker community through virtual systems. 

Tactic 1: Virtual Makerspace

A virtual makerspace would consist of a public map of the web of resources open to people from all different of areas on campus. This has started to develop with some of the labs on campus creating flyers mapping out where they were and what resources they had. This could be expanded to provide students with a whole network of machines and materials available to them.

This model would provide valuable information to the students and community members that are already seeking out and creating with these kind of resources, but it would not encourage more people to get involved. While this would be helpful to the community, it is not enough on it's own. This would be very beneficial to add to one of the above tactics.

Tactic 4: Community Calendar

Similar to a virtual makerspace, the Kent State University community would benefit from a crowdsourced calendar of all the events that go on throughout the calendar year that contribute to the innovation and entrepreneurship scenes on campus. This calendar would include everything from small events like student organization meetings to the maker meet ups being hosted to big events like any inspirational TedX events.

This would expand the maker community at Kent State University because it would be easier for people to see what is going on and when, making attendance and participation higher for all these events. 

Strategy: Maker Community Expansion

At the time of this writing, we have successfully implemented a physical coworking space in the University Library, called The Fridge. The next step to take with this is to expand the community we have around this space.

Tactic 1: Network Expansion

The easiest way to expand our community is to use the resource we already have on hand - the students who already frequently work in The Fridge. We should encourage these students to reach out to their friends and encourage them to become a part of this community of makers.

Tactic 2: Student Org Expansion

Currently, the only organization involved with The Fridge is HacKSU. However, there are many other organizations on campus also doing cool stuff! We need to find a way to bring these organizations into The Fridge and become part of our community.

Tactic 3: Build Team

Use teacher recommendations to build a team of representatives for each school.

From there set up a online network for students to access so they can begin their ventures.

Tactic 4: Attract Students

Host event that promotes innovation and allow students to understand what resources they have, and entice them to join out network.

Tactic 5: Follow-up

Have follow-up constantly and recieve feedback from our team to see how we can contnue to expand our network.

Strategy: Awareness About Aeronautical Studies Opportunities

The College of Technology at Kent State University has a plethora of opportunities for all types of students. Students are often unaware of numerous internships, scholarships, organizations, and competitions that they can participate in. The main line of communication for these types of resources is e-mail; however, many students refuse to read them. We will make an engaging publication that includes internship, scholarship, events, and organization information. This publication will be distributed by the advisors.
·     Meet with the head advisor: Heather Ryan –November, 2015
·     Gather internship, event, organization, and scholarship information and build a team of writers –December, 2015
·     Print and distribute publication to advisors – January, 2016
·     Target Implementation – Spring, 2016
Team Leader: Kristen Boye
Member: Katie Patterson

Strategy: Student/Alumni Mentorship (COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY)

Kent State University has various peer mentoring programs, but there needs to be a mentoring program for those who are transitioning after graduation. Juniors and Seniors could use a connection their perspective career field and it’s important to introduce them to networking. We will create a student/alumni mentorship and push for the mentees to gain an internship as a result.

  • Meet with the head advisor: Heather Ryan – November, 2015
  • Meet with the Dean of CAEST- November, 2015
  • Gather alumni who are interested in becoming a mentor-December, 2015
  • Make an application form-December, 2015
  • Interview student candidates- January, 2016
  • Select candidates and set up a meeting for expectations- January, 2016
  • Set candidates up with their mentors- February, 2016
  • Follow – up with mentors and mentees -March, 2016

Team Leader: Kristen Boye

Strategy : Improve Eco-Friendly Living on Campus (Fall 17)

Tactic 1:Student Success Series on Sustainable College Life

  • Offering talks to incoming freshman about life skills with an eco-friendly twist.

Tactic 2: Educating Student Leaders

  • Meeting with student leaders about organization management and sustainability. Encouraging student leaders to use this as a way to advertize their organization.

Tactic 3: Encouraging Sustainable Business

  • Encouraging students to find new ways to be sustainable and possible businesses and products. Offering talks to entrepreneurship majors and business majors about the market for more sustainable/eco-friendly products and processes.

Strategy: Create a Campus Community for Young Women in STEM (Fall 17)

Tactic 1:STEM Summer Camp

  • Geared towards girls 8th-12th grade
  • Exposure to male dominated majors offered at Kent State
  • Hands on, accompanied by classroom portion
  • Alumni, student volunteers
  • Cleveland Aviation High School
  • How can I help to reach students who would find it most beneficial?
  • How can this be improved and be different than existing programs?

Tactic 2:Mentorship Program

  • Female STEM majors pair with interested middle school and high school girls
  • Almost like a “big sister” program
  • Offer support and encouragement when needed the most
  • Casual, but with a few yearly large group meetings and activities
  • This can be a great community builder for both the mentors and the mentees
  • Giving back and ensuring a strong, diverse I&E ecosystem in the future

Strategy: Expand Career Opportunities for Aeronautics Majors and Awareness of Aviation (Fall 17)

Tactic 1:Extended Aeronautics Career Fair

  • The Aeronautics Career Fair should be turned into a full day event. During this time, representatives from each business could speak more about their recruiting and hiring process. For example, what they look for in a candidate, how they can stand out, what organizations and activities help prepare the applicant, and how to look good on a resume. Students could ask questions as well. Corporations could also hold mock interviews so students have an idea of the questions they will be asked and how to respond properly. The mock interviews could be done by new hires who are familiar with the position our students are in at this point, and could almost act as mentors to prospective individuals.

Tactic 2:Reach Out to Younger Generations

  • There need to be more programs geared towards younger generations to generate interest early on.  There are a few existing programs at Kent State, but only cater to pilots.  Aviation includes air traffic control, aerospace engineering, dispatch, airport management, propulsion studies, and many other subjects.  Exposing these opportunities to kids will create more jobs in aviation.

Tactic 3:Increase Internship Opportunity

  • Many regional airlines invest in the KSU flight program and are eager to participate in events such as the Aeronautics Career Fair. This is because airlines are desperate for pilots at this time, and are seeking out college students who are close to getting their minimum hours.  By creating more internship opportunities for students, ones that are more flexible in scheduling and are geared towards a learning and networking experience, those individuals will be more apt to apply to that airline.  Internships would also help better prepare pilots for being a part of a professional aviation environment, and not just the flying aspect.  

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Kent State University

University Innovation Fellows:

Fall 2017:

Mackenzie Kinzel

Jessie Nowjack

Clare Willette

Spring 2016:

Jag Ashcraft

Brad Baumeister

Fall 2015:

Kristine Boye

Paul Dilyard

Samantha Glass

Ian Reede

Spring 2015:

Matthew Allen

Sravan Kumar Karpurapu

Tapti Saha

Fall 2014:

Robin Bonatesta