Priorities:University of Iowa Student Priorities

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Over 20 years of development, University of Iowa has nurtured a relatively mature ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. With over 100 research centers and 15 entrepreneurial organizations, University of Iowa students and faculty have pioneered in entrepreneurship nationwide. John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) has played a central role in this movement since its establishment in 1997.  

According to the 2012-2013 Impact Report, JPEC has provided 99 academic classes, 44 distance education courses. 3563 undergraduate students of University of Iowa have been enrolled in the academic programs, as well as 175 graduate students. 323 certificates of entrepreneurship and BBA with the Entrepreneurial Management Track were awarded this year, totaling the number to 2443 of JPEC Alumni since 1997. Overall, 174 new businesses were launched this year. Over 10,986 people participated in all programs, seminars and workshops. It is estimated that 338 jobs were created and over 9000 hours were dedicated to 572 clients in total.  $282,100 of seed money was awarded to students and faculty. University Iowa is becoming one of the driving forces for Iowa economy.

That said, two stages in the entrepreneurship landscape canvas can be further strengthened at University of Iowa: Potential and applied. Collaborations between JPEC and other departments especially STEM majors still show great promises for both students and faculty. In 2012-2013, more than eighty percent events were held in the vicinity of JPEC offices, whereas most STEM and medical/public health students were scattered across campus. A majority of participants in all programs were from College of Business. It is JPEC’s responsibility to provide more resources and guidance to all majors with regard to entrepreneurship, as well as disseminate the education of entrepreneurship further to other departments. In addition, most programs of the JPEC still focus on the commercialization of a developed idea, while it can be expected to have more events that target STEM majors, such as technology development competition, allowing STEM students to engage with hands-on experience of developing a certain type of technology. 

Strategy #1: Improve Communication Channel to Engineering

The College of business has an impressible collection of resources and opportunities promoting Innovation and Entreprenurialship.  Sadly these resources are underutilized.  Poor awareness is in part responsible.  A robust communication plan must be developed so that undergraduate engineering students are infomred of these resources multiple times during their educational career.  (Project Lead - Aaron Goddard)

  • Establish contact with new JPEC marketing personnel starting in Feb (2-7-15)
  • Meet with JPEC marketing personel to discuss opportunities for developing a robust communication plan (2-28-15)
  • Meet with faculty to identify courses/seminars in which time could be used for communication of JPEC resources/opportunities (3-15-15)
  • Meet with Department Chair (BME) to get approval for allocation of coures tuned for these purposes (3-31-15)
  • Implement Communication Plan - Fall 2015

Strategy #2: Establish Long-Term Communication Path between Engineering and JPEC

Once Ana and Aaron have moved on, there needs to be a plan to maintain consistent communication between the members of JPEC and the college of engineering.  (Project Lead - Ana Hertz)

  • Identify Faculty to Champion Engineering Student Liason
  • Investigate Creation of Official Student in the BME Department or the College of Engineering
  • Create plan for student to student transition as personnel will continue to change

Strategy #3: Modify Senior Design to place more emphasis on I&E

Senior Design is already a great learning opportunity for engineering students.  We feel that this course could implement some minor changes to place more emphasis on Innovation, Entreprenurialship, and project management.  (Project Lead - Aaron Goddard)

  • Interview additional Students about the Senior Design Experience at University of Iowa (2-31-15)
  • Interview Senior Design Instructors about course goals/objectives (2-31-15)
  • Inverview BME Department chair about course goals/objectives (3-15-31)
  • Identify potential course changes to improve I&E exposure (3-31-31)
  • Contact other Universtiy of Iowa colleges about interdiciplinary collaboration with Senior Design (3-15-15)
  • Complete proposal and pitch idea to Faculty/Chair with a target implementation of Fall 2015

Strategy #4: Integrate Entrepreneurial Courses into Curriculum

Currently the BME Department requires undergraduates in engineeing to complete 19 credits of General Education.  None of the Entreprenurial courses offered by the business school are listed as allowed electives.  Giving students the opportunity to take these courese without delaying graduation to do so will greatly increase engineering participation.  (Project Lead - Ana Hertz)

  • Meet with Department Chair to discuss current Elective Options (2-28-15)
  • Review ABET, University, or any other accretidation requirements (3-31-15)
  • Propose specific courses to be added to list of accepted BME general electives (4-15-15)
    • May include ENTR 2000,3100,3200,4400
  • Target Implementation Fall 2015

Strategy #5: Implementation to the other Engineering Colleges

If Strategies 1, 3, or 4 prove to be successfull in the Biomedical Engineering Department, Extend these changes to the other engineering departments

  • Long term - Target Fall 2016 or beyond as needed

Strategy #6 (legacy): Potential Stage - Expand Student Organization: I-Envision 

Tactic  #1: Add New Board Members From Other Departments.

Description: Currently, I-Envision is the largest student organization of entrepreneurship in JPEC. However, I-Envision are mostly run by students from College of Business. A cross functional team will be able to promote entrepreneurship to further to other departments. Also, representatives from multiple departments will facilitate the organization of events across campus.

Team leader: Steven Hensley and Chen Cui

Milestones: One board member from each of STEM majors, medicine, and liberal arts, who is in charge of arranging all entrepreneurial events at his/her department.  Feb., 2014


Tactic #2: Organize Speaker Events/Workshops at each Department.

Description: A viable way of increasing non business majors’ engagement is to bring the event to specific departments. Meanwhile, it is effective to invite alumni or previous student entrepreneurs from those departments.  

Team leader: All new board members

Milestones: Hold at least one event at each of STEM, medicine and liberal art buildings. Recruit 5-10 new members to I-Envision each semester.

Time: Speaker events at STEM departments Feb 2014

Strategy #7 (legacy): Applied Stage - Restructure Current Courses 

Tactic #1: Add Entrepreneurial Session to Courses, such as Senior Project Design and Software Development.

Description: It is very important to equip students who are currently involved in innovative projects with basic entrepreneurial knowledge. Many project results are left cold once the course is over, while many of them are a good start for entrepreneurship. A possible solution is to add a few sessions during the project meetings that inform students the options they have regarding their project results. Also  provide them with necessary channels for startup resources.

Team leader: Engineering faculty


  • Added entrepreneurial sessions Spring 2014 
  • More design projects can be turned into viable business plan.  Summer 2014


Strategy #8 (legacy): Applied Stage - Add New Activities Targeting STEM Students 

Tactic #1: Add a New Chapter of Google Developer Group at University of Iowa

Description: To provide a platform for STEM students to exchange ideas of and participate the latest technology innovation.

Team Leader: Chen Cui


1.  Hold a GDG DevFest, including keynote speaker, hack-a-thon, code labs and more. March 2014

2. Assist student team successfully to be accepted by Google Summer Code Program.   Summer 2014

Google Summer Code:

Google Developer Group:

Related Links

Chen Cui

University of Iowa