Tag: innovation and entrepreneurship

Faculty Approves Curriculum Changes for Neuroscience, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Driven by faculty interest, Lawrence University students soon will have options for a new major, a new minor and a new interdisciplinary area of study.

At its recent February meeting, the faculty approved proposals to create a major and a minor in neuroscience, while also formally creating an interdisciplinary area in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). The changes will be effective beginning with the start of the 2014-15 academic year.

“These curricular changes, originated by the faculty, will significantly enhance interdisciplinary options for our students,” said President Mark Burstein. “Neuroscience is increasingly emerging as one of the most dynamic research areas and important fields of study of our time. In today’s global marketplace, where graduates are likely to change careers multiple times during the course of their professional life, an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset and approach can serve as powerful catalysts when combined with any course of study.”

Neuroscience_newsblog-2The Century of the Brain

Neuroscience, the study of the brain and the nervous system, was first added to the Lawrence curriculum as an interdisciplinary area in 1980. Since then, neuroscience as a field of study has experienced tremendous growth and recognition. In the past 10 years, the field has seen significant breakthroughs in non-invasive brain imaging, computational modeling and experimental visualization techniques that have contributed greatly to the understanding of how brains function.

Inherently interdisciplinary, neuroscience integrates psychology, biology and chemistry in the study of brain development, learning and memory, sensation and perception, neurological and psychological disorders as well as the molecules, cells and genes responsible for nervous system functioning.

There are currently 16 students who have declared a concentration in the neuroscience interdisciplinary area, which is taught by Bruce Hetzler, professor psychology, Nancy Wall, associate professor of biology, Lori Hilt and Judith Humphries, assistant professors of psychology and biology, respectively.

“This is going to be the century of the brain,” said Wall. “Earlier this year, President Obama announced the creation of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, which certainly speaks to the growing prominence of neuroscience today.

“After two years of discussions on developing it as a major, we’re all very excited to be moving forward with it,” Wall added. “This change will be especially beneficial for students who want to pursue graduate studies in the field.”

Promoting Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Lawrence faculty from a variety of disciplines and divisions first introduced innovation and entrepreneurship courses six years ago as a way to enable students to further pursue their passion through innovative and entrepreneurial ventures both in coursework and co-curricular activities.

Rabbit-Gallery-logo_werblogAmong the latter were the development of The Rabbit Gallery, a temporary art gallery that showcased an empty storefront in downtown Appleton, the Greyfell Theater Company,  which launched last December in Door County with the performance of four, original 10-minute plays written by students, and Flickey, a kiosk-based movie distribution system that allows consumers to download movies to a flash drive for playback on a computer or television, among others.

Multidisciplinary by nature, the I&E curriculum has been developed by the faculty of six departments — the conservatory of music, economics, government, physics, studio art and theatre arts — with several courses involving instructors from multiple departments.

Much of the curriculum was developed by a core of nine faculty members: John Brandenberger, physics; Marty Finkler, economics; Adam Galambos, economics; Rob Neilson, studio art; Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory; Ben Rinehart, art history; Claudena Skran, government; Tim Troy, theatre arts; and Gary Vaughan, economics.

“The new interdisciplinary area in I&E will present a coherent collection of courses to students interested in adding an I&E component to their liberal education,” said Adam Galambos, associate professor of economics. “It also will promote interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty and enable students to show on their transcripts that they have completed a coherent I&E curriculum.”

One unique aspect of the program is an advisory committee of a dozen committed alumni who have helped faculty develop a program that fits with Lawrence’s mission and culture.

“I&E means different things to different people, but at Lawrence, we think of it in broadly conceived terms that mesh well with the liberal arts,” Galambos added. “Our graduates who embrace innovative and entrepreneurial attitudes will be better equipped to create fulfilling lives for themselves, lives that extend their liberal arts experience.”

During the 2013-14 academic year, more than 10 percent of the student body — 160 students — have enrolled in an I&E course.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence University Innovators Participating in Third Annual “Schumptoberfest”

Lawrence University student and faculty representatives will be among the participants at “Schumptoberfest 2012,” a conference dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship in the liberal arts curriculum. Grinnell College hosts the third annual event Oct. 13-14.

Sid Dayal, a 2011 Lawrence graduate and senior Dan O’Connor, two of the founding members of Flickey,™ discuss their experience, achievements and challenges in launching a business enterprise designed to enable consumers to download movie rentals from dedicated kiosks onto USB drives. The venture grew out of Lawrence’s “In Pursuit of Innovation” course taught by Assistant Professor of Economics Adam Galambos, Professor Emeritus of Physics John Brandenberger and lecturer in economics Gary Vaughan. The Flickey™ team also includes junior Nate Fearing and senior George Levy.

Junior Babajide Ademola and senior Patrick Pylvainen will present on their research on the role of entrepreneurship in economic development in Sierra Leone. Ademola and Pylvainen were part of a team led by Professor of Government Claudena Skran that traveled to Sierra Leone this summer to study small ventures that have successfully brought economic development to some communities in the face of overwhelming odds. Pylvainen is basing his Senior Experience on this research with support from the Mellon Senior Experience Fund.

Galamabos and Associate Professor of Economics David Gerard will join the students at the conference.

Schumptorberfest is the brainchild of Gerard, who founded the event in 2010 at Bjorklunden.  It is named in honor of 20th-century Austrian-American economist Joseph A. Schumpeter who advocated for change-oriented, and innovation-based economics.

Lawrence hosted Schumptoberfest 2011, attracting participants from a dozen campuses in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and beyond.

The annual conference is sponsored by the ACM through a Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) Project grant.

The “Pursuit of Innovation” course helped launch Lawrence’s own program in innovation and entrepreneurship in the fall of 2008. The program has since expanded to include other courses and course modules in economics, government, physics, studio art, the conservatory of music and theatre, directly benefiting more than 250 students from a wide range of majors.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Entrepreneur Larry Robertson Discusses Importance of “Thought to Action” in Lawrence Convocation

Award-winning author and recognized expert in entrepreneurship and creative thought Larry Robertson approaches Lawrence University’s 2012-13 convocation series theme “From Thought to Action” from an intriguing and unusual vantage point with his presentation “Butch, Sundance and Australia: Making the Leap From Thought to Action.”

The address, Thursday, Oct. 11 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, is free and open to the public.

Larry Robertson, founder and president, Lighthouse Consulting

For more than two decades, Robertson has resided in the world of entrepreneurs, serving as advisor, investor and roles in between. Drawing upon a background that includes positions with J.P. Morgan, the venture firm and investment bank Robertson, Stephens & Company and the Walt Disney Company, Robertson has establishing himself as a leading authority on entrepreneurship in public, private and academic forums.

In 1992, he founded Lighthouse Consulting, a firm that provides management guidance to new and innovative entrepreneurs as well as some of the best-known names in business and the nonprofit sector.

He earned multiple awards for his 2009 book “A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress” in which he argues the importance of being a watchful observer and attentive listener before taking action. From composer Igor Stravinsky to Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, he cites numerous examples of agents of change who took time to think seriously about what they wanted to accomplish before deciding how to do so.

“We must not only change the way we do things,” writes Robertson, “we must learn how to change in better ways — to think as changemakers do, entrepreneurially, even if we let others lead.”

A resident of Arlington, Va., Robertson earned bachelor and master’s degrees at Stanford University and  Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, respectively. He serves as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.

Oklahoma State University’s School of Entrepreneurship honored Robertson with its 2011 Igniting the Flame Award, which recognizes the person who best moves the entrepreneurial community forward.

Lawrence began its own program in innovation and entrepreneurship in the fall of 2008 with the course “Pursuit of Innovation.” The program has since expanded to include other courses and course modules in economics, government, physics, studio art, the conservatory of music and theatre. The I & E program has directly benefited more than 250 students from a wide range of majors since it was launched.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.