School:William Jewell College

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William Jewell College is a small liberal arts institution established in 1849. The college has called Liberty, Missouri its home for over 165 years. Today the campus is about 200 acres in size, and sits on a hill overlooking the Kansas City skyline.  The average enrollment is around 1,100 students, making the student to faculty ratio eleven to one. The college places a strict emphasis on service, leadership, and spiritual growth with a motto, “Deo Fisus Labora,” meaning, “Trust in God, Work.”

William Jewell advertises their four-year degree as being “a journey rich with opportunities.” With over 40 majors to choose from, the college provides students with opportunities to collaborate in a state of the art technology based learning commons, utilize a Journey Grant ($2,000.00) to pursue a passion of their own design, be a Division II athlete, research with a professor in their major field of study, launch an entrepreneurial venture through the college's Idea Exchange, and much more. The school's motto is "Live what you learn."

The college focuses on achievement, experiential learning and leadership, and critical thinking. Consistently ranked among America’s best colleges, William Jewell College is cited for small class sizes, low student debt, high graduation rates, commitment to service, and overall value. 

Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Presently, Jewell students from physics and business are the most engaged in entrepreneurship. This is likely due to the content and the structure of their courses. However, students in all majors often show their ability to innovate and design. Jewell's student body constantly engages in extracurricular group activity and other projects outside of class that are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to problems they find on campus. There are also several student organizations dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, detailed below. Additionally, students leverage resources in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as Lean Startup Machine workshops. There are also many makerspaces that encourage collaboration among students and students have many resources through on-campus faculty. Students also have the Adobe Suite at their disposal on specific computers in the Pryor Learning Commons along with a 3D printer, production studio, and audio recording studio. There are a great number resources that students could be using in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Jewell's faculty also does a tremendous job of kindling and promoting entrepreneurial spirit in their interaction with the student body. 

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Faculty have two primary avenues for innovation: inside the class and outside the class. Innovation in the classroom requires student interaction in place of a purely lecture-based course. Jewell's mission to create critical thinkers through its core curriculum is served by this end: a liberal arts education is furthered by enabling students to voice their thoughts, hear criticism, and increase the rigor of their intellectual engagement. Some courses already embody this ideal, but others have room to grow. There are, however, opportunities in the business and marketing classes to do real, hands-on marketing and product research through projects. This could be a great jumping off point. There are many project-based classes that could expand more into entrepreneurialship. Transitioning towards a curriculum that supports innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset is a gradual process that the current Leadership Circle aims to begin.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship On Campus

At William Jewell, students have many available resources to use when it comes to I&E. The school offers various clubs, events, and maker spaces that are for student use.

Clubs and Organizations

The clubs and organizations that we have on campus are the TECH Club, E-Society, InScape Digital Magazine, the Jewellverse Student Advisory Board, and the Jewell Communication and Theatre Society. The TECH Club, also known as Teach Everyone Coding and Hardware, is a club that reaches out to campus to educate and create awareness of technology and coding. The E-Society is the Jewell Entrepreneur Society that does events throughout the year as well as creates an interest for entrepreneurship and innovation in the student body. Students a part of the Jewellverse Advisory Board are able to help influence tech and I&E policy. The Jewell Communication and Theatre Society helps assist students with networking with professionals and teaches about the possible careers in this subject matter.


     William Jewell College offers an extensive list of events for students to go to which include an extensive lecture series, Big Omaha, Big Kansas City, the Kansas City Maker Faire, KC Tech Week, and One Million Cups. Organizations around campus also contribute to events that help inspire innovation and entrepreneurship such as visiting lecture series sponsored by the chemistry and biology departments, a professor sponsored weekly networking meeting called BizTime Coffee, Lean Startup Machine in Kansas City that is sponsored by the Business Department, and Think Big Pitch Camp that is also sponsored by the Business Department. 

     The fall 2014 UIF cohort started an annual event called #OnedayKC. Through partnerships with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Think Big Partners, the Kaufmann Foundation, and other local businesses and organizations #OnedayKC became the collegiate entrepreneurial event of the year for the Kansas City area by bringing together students from multiple institutions for a day of innovation and entrepreneurship. The 2015 cohort did a great job of expanding and improving upon the already excellent model for this amazing event. Current and future cohorts aim to do the same. 

William Jewell College also puts on a Duke Colloquium Day every April for students to both showcase their unique project and get a look at what their peers have been working on. Classes are canceled for the day to show the students they have the colleges full backing and admiration for their work. In addition, alumni are invited as well as local professional leaders. 


In recent years, the College built a new building called the Pryor Learning Commons that consists of spaces dedicated to I&E. These spaces are open to the whole campus and are able to be reserved 24/7. These spaces include a graphics suite, an audio suite, a 3D printing suite, an editing suite for graphics, production studio, and multiple collaboration spaces. Students often take advantage of these resources for both class work and personal projects. 

On Jewell’s campus, there are two shops in the Physics Department that are the machine shop and the electronics shop. These spaces, however, are mostly used by students in the Physics Department. These shops require special training to use which makes them less accessible to the larger student body. A private shop is located about thirty-five minutes away called the Design Shop and it is available for student use. It is a business professor initiative at bringing design and creativity to campus and to the community.

There is also the IdeaX room available to students and professor at all hours. This non-traditional classroom features a whiteboard wall, couch, tv, coffee maker, and is organized in a way so that there is no standard front of the room. This space is frequently used for guest of the Business Department to talk to students on many different post-graduation career fields. 


The college offers numerous opportunities to engage in unique innovative experiences. These opportunities include the Career Mentor Program, the Journey Grant, and the Kauffman Grant.

The Career Mentor program matches students from any discipline on campus to a professional mentor in the Kansas City area to do a job shadowing experience of 10 hours minimum. This program allows students to gain a better understanding of a career field and it connects professionals to the college through a professional relationship with a Jewell student.

The Journey Grant is a $2,000 minimum grant that allows Jewell students to study abroad, attend a conference, to start a business with these funds, or anything to aid the experiential learning process. To use the Journey Grant, a student must apply for it to use during their Junior or Senior year. The school offers pre-planned trips that include learning about business on a ranch, learning about third world communities and economies in Honduras, the British Teacher Education Program, among others.

Students at William Jewell College have the opportunity to apply for funding for a start-up or business venture through the Kauffman Grant. The students can apply through the Director of Creativity and Innovation to have access to these funds that allow students to gain real world experiences with real money to start up.

Evaluation of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

     William Jewell is rapidly growing its Creativity and Innovation program and other campus-wide efforts, to the degree that the word "entrepreneurship," "innovation," and "creativity" find themselves at the center of nearly every new project and initative. The University Innovation fellows welcome this environment, but currently find ourselves grounding campus projects and initiatives into doable, process based creativity. While we encourage "thinking big," we consider it equally important to consider the multi-stepped, process-based origin of true creative work. Projects that include faculty recognition, centralized data regarding campus activities, and better communications mechanisms for campus leaders all include big goals--yet we continue to seek first iterations of these projects to use as prototypes to better evaluate the underlying need of the initiatives at hand. From there, we intend to garner the immediate success of various initiatives into the energy and support needed to reach their fullest conceptions.

     In line with this goal, Jewell has collected data from faculty and student interviews about innovation, entrepreneurship, and engagement over the last year, and this content area will eventually summarize those data along with that collected by the Leadership Circle. Some of the ways Jewell has utilized the collected data is the creation of the college's first ever engineering program, which it is in the midst of now. In the fall of 2016 William Jewell College welcomed its first ever class of civil engineers. The program has an environmental emphasis and focus on four technical areas: environmental, geotechnical, hydraulic and structural. The addition of this department has certainly added and continues to add to the innovation and entrepreneruship on Jewell's campus. 

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Fall 2015 Landscape Canvas

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Related Resources

William Jewell College

William Jewell College Strategic Priorities

Current Fellows

Jack Still

Tavarus Pennington

Julia Almeida

Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

Graduate Fellows

Macy Tush

Meg Anderson

Conner Foote

William Hyde

Jesse Lundervold

Dalton Nelson

Erika Storvick

Denver Strong

Jacob Dice

Sam Fulte

2018-2019 Leadership Cycle: Jack Still , Tavarus Pennington , Julia Almeida .

2017-2018 Leadership Circle: Sam Fulte, Jacob Dice

2016-2017 Leadership Circle: Meg AndersonSofia Arthurs-SchoppeConner FooteWilliam HydeJesse LundervoldDalton NelsonErika StorvickDenver Strong

2015-2016 Leadership Circle: Bradley DiceTrevor NicksBen ShinogleAlex HoldenMacy TushGretchen Mayes

2014-2015 Leadership Circle: Bradley DiceJames MilamKate McFerrenAmelia HanzlickConner Hazelrigg