School:University of Saint Thomas
The University of St. Thomas has three campuses: Minneapolis, MN, St. Paul, MN and Rome, Italy. The University of St. Thomas is known for their engineering and business (including entrepreneurship) program and also for being an ASHOKA ChangeMaker campus. Although the university is not considered a research university, many students are involved in research alongside St. Thomas faculty and innovation-based classes.
Students at the University of St Thomas have many opportunities to use their creativity to spark innovation and become student entrepreneurs. Departments like the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and the School of Engineering use their resources to teach and bring in outside entities to inspire students to be successful entrepreneurs. There are many courses that cover the theory of innovation and the design process. Hands-on and interactive courses are staples of the business and engineering schools. Students are prepared to implement what they have learned into their senior capstone course - where each team must research, design and create a product for/with an outside company. Students can also explore entrepreneurship beyond the classroom. For example, students can enter the Fowler Business Challenge and participate in the student club Design for America. New this year, the TJ Bot Internet of Things Make-a-thon Event brings together entrepreneurs and engineers to design a cardboard robot with the mind of IBM's Watson. The Engineering Reverse Job Fair brings companies to the students, many of whom leave with internships for the following summer. The St. Thomas community nurtures students’ ability to think creatively and collaborate with each other.
Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship
St. Thomas is active in their research, although we are not a “research-focused institution.” This goes not only for students, but faculty as well. For example, Dr. Thomas, an engineering and entrepreneurship professor, is known for her unique research prompts - squishy circuits, food technology, and circus are just a few. She speaks to the fact that she is rarely told “no” for any of her ideas, and instead, is assisted by leaders in the University in dreaming up ways for her to accomplish her ideas. Although her ideas are not typical research topics, she is always allowed to create new projects and programs, not matter how seemingly “out there” they are. At St. Thomas, the faculty is encouraged to pursue their ideas, because the more opportunities to explore concepts translates to more opportunities for students to learn and grow underneath them, which is one of St. Thomas’s main goals of education. UST is also an accredited ASHOKA ChangeMaker campus. This means that at UST, we strive to connect the university to the community and to catalyze social innovation. We help individuals and groups; faculty, students, staff, and alumni; and campus and community organizations build networks and grow relationships in order to solve today's most pressing problems in out neighborhood and world.
University Technology Transfer Function
The University of Saint Thomas does not have an official Technology Transfer Function but all research projects are handled through the Grants and Research Office found here.
University - Industry Collaboration
The University of St Thomas collaborates with companies in the Twin Cities through classes and clubs. The Engineering Design Clinic (ENGR 480/481) is the capstone class for engineering majors where each group collaborates with a company to work on a real world problem specific to each company. Another program offered at St Thomas is the internship co-op program where a student works as an intern for a company that collaborates with St Thomas part-time in the fall and full-time in the winter; upon completion of this program, the student will write a paper and present their experience and receive four elective credits. Many of the clubs at St. Thomas also host speaker events with professionals related to the industries that collaborate with St. Thomas.
Regional and Local Economic Development
The University is dedicated in engaging with regional and local economic development efforts. They have a dedicated office, the office of community engagement, focusing on course-based community engagement that responds to the region’s most pressing needs. The office of community engagement partners with over 100 global, national, and local organizations and the Philips Scholar Program as well as the Clinton Global Initiative, which are student competitions for global and community engagement, run out of that office. Course-based engagement is a key way St. Thomas demonstrates its mission statement, “all for the common good”.
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