School:University of Nebraska Omaha

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CampusAug. 16, 2016
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, NE

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is gradually growing their Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) learning opportunities through the offering of new curriculum. This includes majors that allow students to have more flexibility to choose elective classes that interest them. As well as, many majors offer supervised research for credit and capstone courses that enable students to focus on research and innovation within their areas of interest alongside faculty and community members. Still, there are a large number of majors that lack flexibility and innovation opportunities. Currently, the campus offers several events that inspire students to improve their skills in I&E, listen to diverse voices, and apply these skills in real-world, impactful scenarios. UNO also hosts many student organizations and regular competitions that utilize the students' innovation and entrepreneurial skills and has dedicated workshops and studios for I&E iterative prototyping, designing, and creating. However, many of these spaces are unknown or restricted to a select group of students and/or faculty. Criss Library, UNO's main library on campus, is the home of the Creative Production Lab. This Lab is open to all students and faculty to utilize with a reduced cost for certain materials if needed; in addition, the Scott Technology Center is being developed as a space to house established businesses and student startups. Further, administration, faculty, and staff have shown continuous encouragement and support for student I&E opportunities.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

On campus, many faculty and professors have research projects that they work on outside of teaching. Many of which are supported by student collaboration through volunteering and employment. Opportunities like university funded grants (FUSE and GRACA) offer students a paid collaboration opportunity with faculty to pursue common interests outside of coursework and present them to the community. Additionally, students are required to collaborate with these faculty through their capstone projects. The UNO community has created a culture of positive change through student-faculty collaboration and mentorship. In this relationship, Students take the wheel in the process of successfully creating change in some meaningful way with faculty advice and support. For example, Student Government is coached by staff who bring student-generated ideas to upper administration for funding and implementation. Faculty also have a similar organization known as Faculty Senate that serves to voice their opinions and improve their experience. In addition, upper administration supports faculty with access to specialized workshops, seminars, and community connections by different academies. The Center for Faculty Excellence provides faculty with instructional assistance, professional development, and leadership opportunities.

Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

Currently, UNO does not have a dedicated technology transfer office. However, UNO students and faculty are able to use the University of Nebraska Medicine’s UNeMed technology transfer office due to the partial integration of the two campuses. UNeMed manages intellectual property and invention notification services for UNO. New barriers, like COVID-19 have continued to stall the development of a technology transfer center at UNO.

Facilitating university-industry collaboration

There are many creative spaces surrounding UNO that are open to the public for collaborating and practicing I&E skills. UNO’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) houses community nonprofits, organizations, and businesses to provide a space for students to creatively make a difference in the community. The CEC also houses the Student Services and Leadership Collaborative which hires student workers who organize community outreach initiatives. This includes days of service, operating the Maverick Food Pantry, and internships at local nonprofits. Career fairs are held frequently over the course of each year that connect students to businesses, organizations, and startups. Due to COVID-19, the university has moved these fairs online providing a more accessible opportunity for students to find careers. Further, UNO provides students with online job boards, like Handshake, and newsletters within colleges to share new internships and job opportunities. The Startup Collaborative sponsors a Start-Up weekend every year where students work in teams to pitch ideas and develop business plans. This community organization also provides resources for helping students develop start-ups. UNO also has mentoring programs such as the Success Academy, Thompson Learning Community, or Walter Scott Jr. Scott Scholarship help guide students through the college experience and beyond during their time at the university.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

COVID-19 has required the university to invest in financial aid and emergency funding, such as the CARES Act and Nebraska Promise Scholarship, to enhance the success of their students. Furthermore, UNO has always been involved with the Omaha community via events, fundraising, partnerships, and other initiatives. UNO’s pacific campus is integrated in the Aksarben area of Omaha providing students direct access to local businesses and corporations. The Scott Technology Center is also partnering with UNO to house courses, student organizations, and collaborative spaces. University organizations, such as the CEC, are focused on community service projects. The Center for Public Affairs Research, the lead agency for the Nebraska State Data Center, along with several government-oriented research labs produce data and reports for use by government and non-governmental organizations to be used in community development.

Current Documentation

2020 Cohort

Strategic Priorities

Landscape Canvas


Previous Documentation

2019 Cohort

Strategic Priorities

Landscape Canvas


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