Texas A&M selected to participate in Epicenter’s Pathways to Innovation program

Pathways 1 - Lagoudas

Dr. Jorge Vanegas, Ms. Magda Lagoudas, Dr. John Criscione and Dr. Jay Porter

Texas A&M University is one of 12 universities selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of Epicenter’s Pathways to Innovation program.

The program’s mission was developed by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) to assist universities by incorporating innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education. The Pathways to Innovation Program goal is to “Enable engineering programs to develop widespread, effective, and accessible innovation and entrepreneurship offerings for undergraduate engineering students embedded into formal and informal undergraduate engineering education." The guiding principles of the program are research-based, context-specific transformation of engineering education at each institution and with institutional impact at the core of the engineering program. The program will provide students with opportunities to learn, understand and apply innovation and entrepreneurship.

Throughout the next two years, the Pathways program will lead teams of faculty and administrators to design and implement unique curricular and extra-curricular programs for each institution. The Texas A&M team includes faculty and administrators from three colleges: The Dwight Look College of Engineering (Magda Lagoudas, executive director for industry and nonprofit partnerships, Dr. John Criscione, assistant dean for graduate programs and a faculty-entrepreneur in Biomedical Engineering and Dr. Jay Porter, program director and professor in Electronics Engineering Technology), Mays Business School (Dr. Dick Lester, executive director for the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship), and the College of Architecture (Dr. Jorge Vanegas, dean of architecture and Dr. Rodney Hill, presidential professor for teaching excellence).

Lagoudas and Criscione are the co-team leaders. Engineering faculty members who engage in entrepreneurship, such as Criscione and Porter who work together with innovation experts in business and architecture (Lester and Vanegas respectively) and the Texas A&M team anticipate the introduction of high impact learning experiences for students who aspire to be leaders and innovators.

Photo of Pathways Group

The team has completed an extensive inventory of all relevant curricular and extracurricular programs, and spaces which are available across the Texas A&M campus and will be used as a foundational tool for setting goals and priorities for integrating innovation and entrepreneurship in the Texas A&M curriculum. In addition, members of the team completed a two-day workshop on Feb. 26-28, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ where they identified strategic opportunities for immediate implementation, which leverage existing programs and resources and have high potential impact among engineering students.

The Pathways program will help augment the 25 by 25 initiative, already in place in the Look College. Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering supported Lagoudas in the Pathways program. “The 25 by 25 initiative is transforming the educational experiences of our students and better preparing them to engage in and meet the future needs of the engineering marketplace,” said Banks. “The Pathways to Innovation program aligns well with our efforts to transform engineering education by providing students with opportunities to develop innovative ideas, test them with prototypes, and further improve them to become design solutions for problems in our society.”

Participating in the Inaugural Pathways to Innovation program will provide Texas A&M access to resources, networks and ongoing coaching and advice from national leaders in engineering and technology innovation and entrepreneurship to support the efforts to develop and implement successful programs.

Faculty and staff interested to learn more about the activities of this program on our campus and/or how to participate in the program should contact Magda Lagoudas at m-lagoudas@tamu.edu. To learn more about the Pathways to Innovation Program, visit http://epicenter.stanford.edu/pathways-to-innovation.