Priorities:University of North Florida Student Priorities

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UNF 2020 UIF Cohort Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priority 1: Introducing Innovation on Campus

Project Leaders: Erisa Gjoka, Rory Hampson, Tala Sartawi

Showcasing Innovation to bring awareness and inspiration to the student body at the University of North Florida is a priority to our cohort. We want to enable students to thrive by equipping them with resources that motivate them to think more creatively in their respective fields. Innovation is hardly something that is confined to one or two disciplines; it is a versatile enhancement to all fields. If put forth utilizing the proper strategies (design thinking, prototyping, team collaboration, etc.), students should be able to take principles and wisdom from the opportunities provided to them and take that forth into their daily lives, finding unique ways to contribute to the creative and innovative atmosphere at UNF.

1. Perhaps through a TEDx conference series, or a mock Shark Tank event in which students could pitch their ideas to successful entrepreneurs and potential investors. These experiences would allow I&E to reach students from all disciplines. Through events like these, students would be able to brainstorm, prototype, collaborate, network, and possibly gain mentors along the way.

2. An open Maker Space called MindHUb at UNF

  • This open design thinking space would be a center located on campus that would provide students with a space to work on ideas and prototypes
  • MindHub at UNF makerspace would include: rooms for teams to work on ideas, a huge whiteboard wall for students to brainstorm ideas and think out loud, 3D printers and other tools necessary for making various prototypes.
  • Available to the students will also be an I&E advisor that would provide the students with opportunities on and off-campus for innovation and entrepreneurship. This advisor would be the middle person between the center at UNF and the Entrepreneurship Center Downtown.
  • Provided by Mindhub are seminars and events focused on design thinking, productivity, team collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship in various fields of studies on campus.


Strategic Priority 2: Marketing & Communications

Project Leader: Maxwell Twardowski

Something that we have noticed as we have begun to investigate potential issues at UNF is a major lack of marketing and communication in regards to the resources offered to students at our university. UNF has many resources to offer, and students may know about some of the better marketed ones, such as the counseling center and the international center, however certain other resources the university has to offer, such as the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which hosts startup businesses and offers different entrepreneurial services to UNF students and members of the community, as well as the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, which deals with research done by graduate and undergraduate students and can offer grants or other different project management services to students. These resources, although extremely useful and can be major assets to UNF students, are not well advertised or marketed, and a solution such as a website with information on every resource UNF has to offer could be a major help to make sure these services are properly utilized.


Strategic Priority 3: Mental Health

Project Leader: Jules Gerstein

Although students report that they believe UNF is an environment that actively encourages positive mental health and the wellbeing of students, they also report that marketing among organizations and resources promoting positive mental healthcare fall short. We believe students should actively be aware of their mental health and have sustainable resources to address it. While the counseling center offers various resources, the lack of participation and centralized outreach may cause students to withdraw from seeking mental healthcare or miss out on opportunities. Perhaps, through a campus-wide Mental Health Awareness week students could benefit from events led by mostly students, but also the psychology department and counseling center to spread awareness about the importance of mental health. We would use this week as an opportunity to highlight resources available and to stress how mental health practices can improve not only our personal success but academic and professional success. This week would not only be a temporary fix but have a long-term plan to address mental health inequities. Furthermore, we would approach departments across campus to partake in the promotion of mental health resources on campus and to encourage open dialogue among students and professors. With a reported decrease in the quality of education due to the pandemic, students are missing out on personal connections and opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations. Addressing departments about this issue could also improve how students view their education and their mental health during this difficult time.

During Mental Health Awareness Week:

  • Mental Healthcare Resource Fair, exposing students to resources on campus
  • Suicide Awareness Walk, 5k walk to promote suicide awareness, and physical activity that is scientifically proven to increase dopamine levels
  • Workshops, such as: How to Manage Stress, How to Cope with Academic Failure or Unmet Expectations, Mediation Practices
  • Guest lecturers from professors on the correlation between taking care of your mental health and productivity
  • Guest speakers from students who could share their personal struggles with mental health and strategies


Strategic Priority 4: Building a More Interactive Community

Project Leader: Tala Sartawi

A big issue that UNF students often complain about is the lack of a strong student community on campus. This is due to the commuter nature of UNF. As a team, we believe that helping create a well-knitted community on campus is an essential first step to help students.

Community Room:

  • As simple as this sounds this idea would help create unity amongst the UNF student body as it would provide them with the place where they can go and hang out and mingle.
  • It would have comfy couches, a snack bar, a coffee machine, and a few board games, and a TV screen.
  • The idea behind it is to provide commuting students with a place to relax and hang out in-between classes instead of sitting in the library. As the library is already a crowded place with not enough seating.
  • For the idea to be successful it needs to be properly marketed and strategically placed in the middle of campus in an obvious location in order for students to easily locate it. The location is crucial as it has to be close to most buildings to make it more accessible and practical so that students can go there in between classes


The Change Story of the 2020 UIF Cohort

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBmpo3R6EWw&feature=youtu.be


Strategic Priorities: 2019 Cohort


Strategic Priority 1: Connecting Students With Resources

Project Leader: Courtney Ardizzoni


Discuss the marketing of innovation, through multiple social media sites for a large selection of students to give their ideas for innovative solutions. Both upper and undergraduate students are excited to give their opinions on change at the university and hope to actually have an opportunity to speak on these aspects in the future.  Using social media and flyers to promote upcoming events and innovative programs are the best way currently to share this information, but in the future we are hoping to continue to innovate using multiple platforms to provide all students with the chance to get involved.


Strategic Priority 2&4: Innovation Solution Challenge

Project Leader: Anastasia Daniels


The third prototype we created was an event similar to an escape room that challenged teams of students to create a solution to a problem in an hour. The event is called “Innovative Solution Challenge”. The students will be given a prompt to solve a real-world problem. Each team will consist of 4-6 members and they will be in the rooms at the same time. They will all be given the same prompt to solve and can only use the materials provided in the room. Ideally, the solution to the problem will be theoretical and they would use the materials to be able to illustrate the solution. Real-world problems could range from income inequality to racism. Materials that would be in the room would range from markers and papers. At the end of the hour, the students would present their ideas to the other groups. The goal of the event is to encourage innovation and design thinking among each group and for the groups to also see how others from different backgrounds decided to solve the same problem. 

For the actual development of the project that I would lead, I would have to book rooms in the Student Union for each team to be in as well as a bigger room for all the teams to present their project in at the end. All of the team members would have to put up flyers and spread the word around campus for students to start creating their teams. Ideally, we would have 4 teams of 4-6 people. Once these teams RSVP, we send them the basic rules of the game and have them arrive early. Prior to their arrival, we set the rooms up with the materials. When the teams arrive, each fellow debriefs a team and they all begin at the same time. After doing this event once, we will learn from the students what worked and what didn’t and make improvements for the next. We would hold this event twice a semester. 


Strategic Priority 3: Teaching Innovation Institute

Project Leader: Evan Maslin


Priority three in our two-year strategic plan is a formal redesign of the Teaching Innovation Institute offered by the Office of Faculty Enhancement. The curriculum of the institute will focus on equipping faculty with the tools needed to integrate creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving skill-building activities into the classroom. This project is going to require the coordination of resources and the collaboration between several different departments/institutes/offices on-campus. 

  • Determine if there is funding available to provide faculty members with a stipend and/or future development funds 
    • The value of the stipend or the future development funds must be equivalent to what the faculty member would have received if they had taught a summer course 
  • Collect quantitative data pertaining to student engagement/participation in the classroom, benefits of utilizing alternative teaching methods (on GPA, retention rates, etc.), and faculty interest in the program
    • This will be collected via academic journals, speaking with professionals in the field, and by conducting a student opinion research survey 
  • Establish a partnership between the Office of Faculty Enhancement, Taylor Leadership Institute, and University Innovation Fellows 
    • Ensure that each party involved designates an official liaison tasked with developing and administering the institute 
      • Office of Faculty Enhancement: Dr. Dan Richard 
      • Taylor Leadership Institute: Dr. Matthew Olhson 
      • University Innovation Fellows: Evan Maslin 
  • Redesign the current training curriculum to focus on innovative teaching methods and student skill-building while ensuring to receive both faculty and student input 
    • Host multiple brainstorming and prototyping sessions with both faculty and students
      • Two of each type of session per semester  
  • Secure a venue for the program, advertise, and select participating faculty
    • Host the institute at either the College of Education or Adam W. Herbert University Center 
    • Advertise the institute to faculty members by sending out a university-wide email, posting information on social media, and meeting with faculty members identified as premier candidates
  • Have faculty reflect on their experience at the institute and if there used any of the methodologies taught in the semester immediately following their completion of the institute 
    • The initial reflection should be completed no more than one week after the conclusion of the institute 
    • Faculty will be sent a survey and asked to complete at the end of the first term immediately preceding their successful completion of the institute 
  • Improve the institute for the next year 


Strategic Priority 5: Funding Student Innovation

Project Leader: Thatcher Hart


The last priority of the long term planning of promoting innovative thinking at UNF would be to help encourage and incentivize students to come up with innovative solutions to the problems that they see on campus. Coordinating different funding sources in order to come up with a substantial pot of money that could be allocated for these innovative purposes. Combined with the previous steps in our overall plan this would help create an environment on campus that would highly encourage innovative ideas to be spread across campus 


  • Survey students about likelihood of participating if eligible for financial compensation 
    • Get a better understanding of where the money needs to go and the amount of students that would be interested. 
  • Talk to Student Government, the Honors College, and other colleges about donating money 
    • Construct an agreement to see what percentage of the funds would come from each donor or if a single entity on campus would be funding the entire scholarship / TLO
  • Set up committee/group that would allocate the funding to the students 
    • Have this croup encompass both students and faculty having representation from all levels of the university to better gage the amount of impact that each project would have on the university as a whole.
  • Create more awareness of the opportunity on campus once it is put into place. 
    • Put up flyers on campus and have teachers spread the word in classes and have them try to identify students with these ideas to persuade them to step forward and pursue the objective they have in mind
    • Send out email blasts to the students faculty and administration of the university to further spread awareness. 
    • Start having current social media accounts that are aimed toward the correct target having posts that would persuade these innovative projects to collect the money to advance the idea.

https://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Fellow:Maxwell_Twardowski


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