It’s hard to believe that it has been a full year since we initially called for letters of interest to launch the ASSETT Innovation Incubator! At that time, we couldn’t have predicted the level of enthusiasm that we would see from faculty, administrators, and even local community supporters. And we could only prepare so much for the often-enigmatic work of stewarding this experiential initiative.
To celebrate the payoffs of the faith put in us over the past year, we recently held an Innovation Incubator kick-off event where we cultivated community among participating faculty, ASSETT staff, and supportive college leaders. The event, which was generously underwritten by Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor of the Anchor Point Foundation, was held at Cafe Aion and featured interactive learning stations showcasing each of the four incubator projects. Program speakers included David Brown, Divisional Dean of Social Sciences for the College of Arts & Sciences and a sponsor of the Innovation Incubator, and Beth Osnes, an Associate Professor of Theater & Dance, the current ASSETT Faculty Advisor, and an incubator participant. Osnes invigorated attendees with her vision for the incubator: “By working together for three years, we will have the opportunity to support each other’s ideas, problem-solve challenges, and cheer each other’s successes. And the invaluable guidance and support from the ASSETT staff is a major strength of this endeavor.”
This fall, faculty teams officially embarked on early-stage implementation of their three-year projects, with each team tackling a discovery phase that included stakeholder analysis and the development of a value proposition to “shop” their idea across the college. Behind the scenes, ASSETT staff, who serve as project team leaders, have been collaborating on ways to support the unique drive of each team while also reflecting on the year that flew past us.
Here are some of the “year zero” accomplishments we’re celebrating today:
Receiving, assessing, and processing 47 proposals from 44 teams or individuals from across the College of Arts & Sciences (December 2018)
Synthesizing the submitted ideas into four groups of like-minded scholars, each focused on a specific teaching and learning problem or opportunity (January 2019 to March 2019)
Accepting project plans on behalf of each newly formed faculty team outlining the timeline and funding needs of their proposed work (April 2019)
Allocating funding to each of the project teams (August 2019)
Hiring a dedicated staff member to support the formation of the incubator’s infrastructure, community-building, and the ongoing work of each of the project groups (September 2019)
In the coming months, some project teams will share prototypes and examples of their work, focused on metacognition and mindfulness, inclusive data science, student success, or multimodal participatory publishing. We can’t wait to experience these early “products” of the incubator initiative!