School:Vanderbilt University

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Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vanderbilt University offers an impressive range of Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses, programs, and initiatives. There are a plethora of opportunities for students to experiment and learn to adopt an entrepreneurial outlook through innovative solutions.

The main innovation center on campus is the Wond’ry, which is considered the innovation pavilion on campus. The Wond’ry provides a variety of maker spaces, programing, and events. Many clubs and hubs exist on campus, including the Curb Center, the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, and the Owen Center for Entrepreneurship, which offer graduate and undergraduate students the entrepreneurial skills needed to solve real-world problems.

Students at Vanderbilt are encouraged to explore innovation and entrepreneurial concepts within classes. Several classes equip students with the frameworks and foundations to excel at thinking innovatively, prototyping, and launching ventures.


Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Faculty members at Vanderbilt are motivated to apply innovation and entrepreneurship concepts to their work. Moreover, several faculty members are entrepreneurs themselves.

Faculty members from across disciplines are engaging in innovation and entrepreneurship in both academic and extracurricular endeavors with students. Namely, DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience) has galvanized diverse faculty members to incorporate design-thinking and innovation into both new and existing courses. Through DIVE, faculty members from programs in Engineering, Communications, Theatre, and Medicine, Health & Society are undertaking experiential learning programs engaging students and community partners. Kevin Galloway, DIVE Director and Engineering faculty member, and Dave Owens, Wond’ry Director and Owen business faculty member, are the key faculty members across campus designing and leading the academic, co-curricular, and cultural work of embedding design and innovation across Vanderbilt.

At the graduate level, faculty from across disciplines collaborate to design courses like Innovation Realization, which pairs interdisciplinary graduate students on teams to undertake the commercialization process with a Ph.D. student’s design. At the Owen Graduate School of Management, Professor Michael Burcham leads “Launching the Venture” and “Business Models” classes with over 20 years of experience in healthcare entrepreneurship and the Nashville startup community overall.

Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function

Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization provides pathways for students and faculty to patent their ideas and bring them to market.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

At the Wond’ry, students have the opportunity to meet with and be mentored by industry-leading entrepreneurs. Myriad resources are available for students to engage with the community and innovation industry. Specific majors require semester internships during

Resources on Campus

Design an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience (DIVE)

DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience) is a program at Vanderbilt University that teaches human-centered design thinking so that you can solve complex, real-world problems, develop critical thinking skills, and work in multidisciplinary teams during an immersive, mentored project. DIVE is Vanderbilt’s current Quality Enhancement Plan and receives significant support from the university administration, and has laid the foundation for Immersion Vanderbilt, which will engage all students in immersive, experiential learning. Students engage with DIVE through both courses and additional workshops and programs. Of particular note, the Local OACS DIVE program, coordinated by the Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS), focuses on specific community issues - including affordable housing and refugee resettlement - and places students with local nonprofit partner to utilize human-centered design thinking to identify needs and develop solutions within the organization.



The Wond’ry is Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center. With a variety of makerspaces, programming, and events, the Wond’ry provides a centralized resource for Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff to turn ideas into reality. Make a prototype invention or create a work of art with the tools and materials in our maker spaces. Start a company with help from our entrepreneurship programs. Experience new and upcoming technologies or explore new fields of study at one of our workshops. If you can dream it, the Wond’ry can help you do it.

Turner Family Center For Social Ventures

The Turner Family Center for Social Ventures is an interdisciplinary, student-led organization committed to developing socially and environmentally conscious leaders and doers. The center provides resources and opportunities to leverage and combine the individual strengths of Vanderbilt University students, faculty, and industry partners. The TFC’s cornerstone program, Project Pyramid, places students interdisciplinary teams to undertake consulting projects with global social enterprises, while learning about the principles of employing market forces to address poverty.


The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy

The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy at Vanderbilt University is a national policy center committed to research and learning that challenge leaders to rethink the place of creative and cultural expression in contemporary society. The curb center encourages an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems with innovative and creative solutions.



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