Priorities:Tulane University Student Priorities

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Tulane University has great resources for generating awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) through seminars supported by the School of Business, Bioinnovation, and the Biomedcial Engineering department. Furthermore, the tech transfer office (OTT) is readily available to aid students in the first steps to securing and implementing their innovative ideas. Classes at Tulane University, such as SCEN 4800 and SCEN 6000, assist both undergraduate and graduate students to realize their specific potential in beginning an innovative and entrepreneurial venture. Local venues in the New Orleans area, such as: NOBIC, Propellor, Idea Village, and New Orleans BioDistrict, offer support by providing seed money and incubator space for an established innovative idea. Thus, Tulane University has great resources for an innovation and entrepreneurship landscape in the areas of perceived, potential, and reframing strategies. However, the campus can improve in two areas which are critical in bridging potential and reframing strategies: applied and realized schemes. "Applied" refers to the student utilizing their entrepreneurial insight to explore the potential of the innovative idea, while "realized" refers to the student committing to an innovative idea and translating it to a liscensed technology, venture startup, or attaining legal status via intellectual property protection.  

The applied and realized schemes in the I&E landscape could be greatly improved on Tulane’s campus through seminars from the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) and Bioinnovation; discussing the resources for these schemes. Specifically, it would be great to target seminars towards freshman and sophomore undergraduates so that they are immersed in and understand the culture of innovation on campus early on in their education. Moreover, physical incubator spaces on campus for a student’s innovative idea would help push their entrepreneurial pursuit. Having student organizations such as TEA push for innovative grants on campus, such as NSF I-Corps and NCIIA, could greatly improve resources and funding for innovative ideas in science and engineering. Clubs and organizations on campus like TEA need to be assembled in the undergraduate community to enhance awareness of strategies to overcome applied and realized schemes. The graduate student community in either the business school or in Bioinnovation can improve upon these schemes by educating undergraduate engineering students in various workshops and seminars about the resources the undergraduates can possibly utilize. Lastly, more classes pertaining to innovation and entrepreneurship in science and engineering should be implemented at the end of the undergraduate curriculum. All of these strategies to enhance applied and realized schemes should initially be directed by graduate students and faculty that are knowledgeable in entrepreneurship approaches. This will spark the undergraduate community to become aware of and further find creative resources for innovation. 

Link to Prezi overview of campus ecosystem:

Calling all Students

Informational Session (come hear plans, offer feedback and help expand opportunities for all students)

  • Students from Bioinnovation discussed about how to expand innovation on campus 
  • Date: 10/23/13 @ 3:30 PM

Strategy #1: Establishing a Design Space and Making it the Center for Student Innovation at Tulane

Team Leader: Thien Ninh

Following are an array of strategies that will fully address Gap #1 over a 2-3 year period:

Tactic #1: Identify a Suitable Space and Tailoring it to be Used for Design Thinking

Description: By creating a space specifically for design thinking and innovation, students will have the faciliatated opportunity to brainstorm ideas in a collaborative, encouraging atmosphere. This space will be the center of our movement, providing a tangible location for students to witness and take part in real innovation on our campus. It will be used to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation among all students and will cultivate the formation of interdisciplinary teams.


  1. Establish a prototype space in potential location (Flower Hall): 9/14
  2. Create a "grand opening" event that will catch the attention of campus and set in motion student involvement: 10/14
  3. Ask and receive continuous feedback from student users on how to adapt space for improvement: Beyond 10/14

Tactic #2: Organize and Establish a Student-Led Entrepreneur Association Stationed at Space

Description: With the space set up, creating an undergraduate-focused entrepreneur association will be the next step. Such an organization will use the space as their headquarters and will work to increase the involvement of undergraduates. Ultimately, the orgnization will strive to create a sustainable community of student entrepreneurs that may feed off one another's passion.


  1. Find faculty sponsor for student organization: 9/14
  2. Create core team through advertising and reaching out: 9/14
  3. Entice student involvement at "grand opening" of space: 10/14
  4. Petition to be oficially recognized by student government: 2/15

Tactic #3: Maintain Momentum by Organizing Hands-on Events and Workshops for Entrepreneurship

Description: With a space established and a core team built, the movement to spread innovation across campus can really pick up momentum. This will be through an emphasis on learning and interaction. The space will be a place to organize speakings, hands-on workshops, and competitions. The focus will be on sustainability and creating a process to allow future students to organize similar events year in and year out.


  1. Organize friendly pitch competition among undergraduates: 2014 Fall (Ongoing)
  2. Organize first workshop: 2014 Fall (Ongoing)
  3. Possible 3DaySpringboard: 2014 Fall/2015 Spring
  4. Incorporate partnerships with local businesses and incubators: 2015
  5. Collaborate with nearby schools to hold paired event/competition: 2015-16

Strategy 2: Incorporate Innovation into Classroom 

Aside from some of the engineering classes, science classes at Tulane are generally very large and follow a lecture-and-test format that limits classroom discussion and therefore, innovative thinking. Following are some tactics to encourage innovation in science in the classroom setting.

Tactic #1: More Smaller, Seminar-style Science Classes

Description: There are a very limited number of science classes at Tulane that have less than 40 students and that encourage discussion and creative thinking. Those that do are often reserved for engineering students, so students in other majors cannot take them. Most of the science classes consist of large lecture courses where the professor lectures and the students are evaluated solely based on a few tests. Therefore, Tulane should offer small classes for students to take in order to foster innovative thinking. In these classes, students should be encouraged to discuss and challenge what they learn, and they should be given the opportunity to either theoretically or physically apply that knowledge to solve current issues.

Team Leader: Maria Garcia Quesada


  1. Talk to science major advisor about what types of classes they suggest as well as specific faculty to talk to - October 2014
  2. Find faculty to teach these courses - December 2014
  3. Create curriculum and implement courses - August 2015

Tactic #2: Discussion Groups in Large Science Classes

Description: Even if some seminar courses are implemented, it may be difficult for most students to fit them into their course schedules. Therefore, large mandatory science classes should break up into smaller discussion groups at least once a month to discuss current innovation in the field being taught. Students will be presented with innovations related to what they are learning and they will be challenged to critique and come up with ideas to improve what they learn about by using the material learned in class. These sessions can be evaluated either based on participation, a group project completed during the session, or can serve as a source of extra credit.

Team Leader: Maria Garcia Quesada


  1. Talk to faculty teaching large lecture classes about incorporating this into their class - October 2014
  2. Find graduate students to lead discussion sessions - December 2014
  3. Incorporate new system into course curriculum - August 2015

Tactic #3: Innovation in Service Learning

Description: All students at Tulane are required to fulfill a service learning requirement, which serves as a great opportunity for students to incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into their learning. This can take many different directions. Students can, for example, complete their service learning hours with an innovative organization, create their own project, create a project as a group, etc. The opportunity to participate in such a service learning experience should be open to all students, not just those fulfilling a requirement. Therefore, this can serve as a resource for students across all faculties, regardless of what they are studying and whether they can take the class that corresponds to this service learning.

Team Leader: Maria Garcia Quesada


  1. Talk to the Tulane Center for Public Service about incorporating this option into the service learning offerings - October 2014
  2. Talk to faculty leading service learning courses about possible options - November 2014
  3. Talk to local organizations that value innovation and entrepreneurship about possible partnerships - February 2015
  4. Implement service learning option - August 2015

Strategy 3: Stimulating Innovative Thinking through Creative Platforms

Innovation does not necessarily need to happen inside the classroom or inside a space specifically designed for innovative activities. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and involve not just the STEM majors but every student on campus.

Tactic #1: Embed Innovation into Campus Enviornment

Team Leader: Kim Ma

Description: Walls are a very effective communication medium that are often overlooked.  Therfore, we can utilize these free spaces to set up a creativity board that allows students to express their creativity in very simple ways. This idea is inpsired by a creative product called Daily Doodle Calendar, which gives you a prompt for each date and allows you to doodle according to the theme given. For example, a vase may be printed on the calender and the prompt would ask you questions like "What do the flowers in the vase look like?" In this way, it encourges you to imagine freely and boldly and create something unique everyday. Similarly, we can have a "Doodle Board" in the LBC student center and give a weekly theme/prompt to challenge students to utilize their creative thinking to solve a problem or answer a question.


  1. Talk to Design Thinking class instructor to discuss the idea of setting up such a platform - October 2014       
  2. Talk to Office of Student Affairs for permission to use space in the student activity center - November 2014
  3. Work with the Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship (SISE) program to ensure the continuation of the creative medium - February 2015

Tactic #2: Utilize Online Resources on NovoED

Team Leader: Kim Ma

Many prestigious insitutions such as Standord University offer free online courses on NovoED that allow students to learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship. There are also courses such as Creativity: Music to My Ears that stimulate innovative thinking skills through various group and individual assignments. These online courses are great resources for students who wish to learn more about I&E. Therefore, Tulane students can participate in these courses as a team and hold weekly workshops/discussions to exchange ideas and work on the assignments.

  1. Explore suitable online courses available on NovoED for the next school year - October 2014
  2. Talk to Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) and find faculty/fellows willing to lead the weekly workshops - November 2014
  3. Talk to faculty of the Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship (SISE) program regarding possible integration of these online resources into the curriculum - March 2015

Strategy #4: Pursuing the Innovative Ideas at Tulane with Novel Classes, Seminars, and Organizations

Following are an array of strategies that will fully address Gap #3 over a 2-3 year period:

Tactic #1: More design classes in SCEN

Description: Allowing more classes, such as SCEN 6000 and SCEN 4800, that educate in pursuing innovation and entrepreneurship in science and engineering. These classes will elucidate the mechanisms and resources to both undergraduate and graduate students to pursue their ideas. Moreover, independent classes that both undergraduate and graduate students want to pursue (i.e. Biomedical Product Development) to get help in pursuing their innovative ideas should be allowed the science and engineering curriculum.

Team Leader: Derek Dashti


  1. Talk to SCEN faculty about creating more classes (especially for the undergraduate community) – 12/13
  2. Identify graduate students and faculty that can lead/teach these classes – 04/14
  3. Implement classes in SCEN curriculum 01/15

Tactic #2: Innovation seminars engineering freshman and sophomore curriculum

Description: Seminars that educate about innovation and entrepreneurship in the freshman and sophomore engineering curriculum will prepare the undergraduate community to innovate. A high level of awareness on how to innovate will entice students later on in their undergraduate career to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.

Team Leader: Derek Dashti


  1. Talk to TEA, business school, and Bioinnovation faculty to promote these seminars on campus – 12/13
  2.  Prepare a list of seminars in the freshman and sophomore undergraduate curriculum – 01/14
  3. Implement seminars in freshman and sophomore undergraduate curriculum -05/14

Tactic #3: More clubs and organizations like TEA

Team Leader: Nicholas Pashos

Description: Clubs and organizations like TEA geared towards the undergraduate community will enhance the applied innovative knowledge on campus. This will ultimately get more undergraduates involved in innovation and will entice them to form teams to promote entrepreneurial endeavors.


  1. Talk to TEA on how to start up certain clubs and organizations geared towards the undergraduate community – 10/13
  2. Pitch I&E clubs to undergraduates to gain interest and have them join – 03/14
  3. Implement clubs and organizations through Tulane club formation policies -09/14

Strategy #5: Translating/Incorporating the Innovative Ideas at Tualne with Designed Office Hours and Specialized Grant Funding

Following are an array of strategies that will fully address Gap #4 over a 2-3 year period:

Tactic #1: Implement Innovation Class or Bioinnovation Graduate Office Hours on How to Get Your Idea Incorporated

Team Leader: Nicholas Pashos

Description: Teach a class for undergraduates on how to LLC and further get their idea incorporated in the business world. Furthermore, put students in contact with successful entrepreneurs from Tulane and explain what to do from having an idea to successfully getting incorporated. Also, if undergraduate students cannot take this class due to their heavy course load, the Bioinnovation graduate program should provide specific office hours for information on how to get incorporated. 


  1. Talk to Bioinnovation program about this class -12/13
  2. Write up curriculum for the class – 05/14
  3. Gather entrepreneurial speakers for the class – 09/14
  4. Implement class SCEN curriculum – 01/15 

Tactic #2: Successfully Obtain NSF I-Corps Site 

Team Leader: TBD

Description: NSF I-Corps site will fund Tulane to offer funds and physical incubator space to start up a student’s innovative idea. Pitches of the idea will have to be given to a committee at Tulane overseeing the NSF I-Corps funds.


  1. Apply for NSF I-Corps [Anne-Marie Job (Bioinnovation Program Manager) has done this] -07/13
  2. Obtain funds from NSF – 01/14
  3. Implement committee overseeing funds - 09/14
  4. Hold a competition for student innovative idea pitches to possibly be funded – 01/15

Tactic #3: Successfully Obtain NCIIA Grant Funds 

Team Leader: TBD

Description: NCIIA grants will offer Tulane funds for entrepreneurial teams comprised of a student and PI. Also, this grant provides money for incubator space so that the student can optimize physical space to work on the innovative idea.


  1. Apply for NCIIA grant [Anne-Marie Job (Bioinnovation Program Manager) is in the process of doing this] – 12/13
  2. Obtain funds from NCIIA Grant – 05/14
  3. Implement committee overseeing funds - 09/14
  4. Hold a competition for student innovative idea pitches to possibly be funded – 01/15


More funding resources need to be sought to provide incubator space for Tulane students to start their innovative idea. Flower Hall on campus was built to allow students incubator resources, but further funding needs to be implemented to make this a reality. Student organizations such as TEA should come construct plans and raise awareness in order to raise money for the utility of buildings like Flower Hall. 


Related Links

Tulane University

Derek Dashti

Maria Garcia Quesada

Kim Ma

Thien Ninh