Priorities:University of Southern California Student Priorities

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The University of Southern California (USC) is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university. The university has a "very high" level of research activity, receiving $691 million in sponsored research between 2014 and 2015.

USC is home to many centers of innovation, including the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, the USC Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the USC Viterbi Student Innovation Institute, the USC Annenberg Digital Innovation Lab, and more. With the inception of the latest USC Jimmy Iovine & Young Academy, USC is pushing the boundary of innovation in the arts, business, and technology industries. We hope this can extend to all the other USC schools as well.

Student Priorities

Focus #1 - Strengthen the relationship between USC alumni and students, especially in careers of entrepreneurship and innovation

USC prides itself on having a strong alumni network, and as students, we’ve all been told that reaching out to alumni is a great way to network and build relationships. Especially in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, having a support system and mentors is crucial for success. Thus, we want to help bridge the gap between alumni and students and work with the Alumni Network (Alumni Society / Society53) on campus.

Alumni also will have the opportunity to listen to aspiring entrepreneurs and support in their ideas. We envision either a panel of alumni speaking to students on campus or coming to judge potential design springs and conferences held on campus.

Focus #2 - Improve USC spring admit and transfer student university integration.

From speaking with fellow classmates who are either spring admit students or transfer students, their one comment on how USC can improve often resolves to their own welcoming experience (or lack thereof). Fall admitted students go through a series of activities and special welcoming events that best integrate them into the student body and onto campus. The later admitted students however experience prejudice as to their time of admission, and are not readily provided for or accommodated in onboarding to USC.

We should create a series of USC student-led mini-families or “pods” with new students from all over the university meeting other new students and visiting LA together or relying on each other for advice. These could be organized each semester for transfer students that come in the fall and spring, and will definitely accommodate spring admits in the spring. Being able to bond with other students in similar situations as themselves can already alleviate the pressure of entering college alone and with the challenge of making new friends. This could be easily introduced during transfer student orientations, where we can develop a tailored orientation program facilitated by peers that cover important aspects of their new school such as:

- Introduction to campus culture

- Transfer Credits

- Work opportunities

- Financial aid

Focus #3 - Spread entrepreneurial thought across campus to different students (from varying backgrounds and majors)

Our goal is to break down the idea of entrepreneurship to be more approachable and accessible, especially for students outside of the Marshall School of Business. As students who come from diverse backgrounds and schools, our hope is more individuals realize that design thinking and problem solving can be applied to any field of students. We want to empower students to take want they are passionate about and become “entrepreneurs”.

We realize that not every person at USC has the resources and support they need to actually fully ideate, prototype, and execute their ideas and that leads into another focus of ours -- the educate students. This will be in succession to us being able to outreach and speak to these diverse groups.

Focus #4 - Educate students and provide resources about the design thinking process

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to learning, collaboration, and problem solving that begins with developing empathy for those facing a particular challenge. In practice, design thinking serves as a structured framework that helps us to define problems, empathize with others to gather information, develop prototypes of possible solutions, and hone those prototypes through multiple iterations until they have generated a viable solution to the challenge at hand.

Design thinking can be flexibly implemented; encouraging a bias towards action and, because of its nature regarding rapid prototyping, frees up practitioners to embrace the notion of failing forward as it is alright to make mistakes - that’s where breakthrough ideas are born.

Related Links

University of Southern California Page

University of Southern California Student Priorities Page

Laura Gouillon

Related links