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Wichita State to Construct Ideas Lab, Offer Innovation Design Program

The traditional one major, one minor university curriculum structure has served college students well for years. Recently, however, this method has not been enough for some Wichita State University students. Typically, students choose a field of study and are given a standard set of course requirements for their major. As we progress further and further into the 21st century, and as entrepreneurial studies continue to grow, traditional methods limit student’s options. Students interested in multiple fields of study face an ultimatum if they hope to graduate within four years. With the addition of its Innovation University, coordinated through the College of Fine Arts, WSU takes steps to accommodate students interested in entrepreneurship. The Innovation University will provide students with more opportunities for collaboration, made possible partly by the opening of the WSU Ideas Lab. The WSU Ideas Lab will unite artists, business majors, engineers and more for collaboration that will create an opportunity for technological innovation. The Ideas Lab will be located in the Experiential Engineering Building, the first facility to be built on the Innovative Campus. The Ideas Lab is considered one of the College’s top priorities. The WSU Foundation is working with the College of Fine Arts to raise funds for this project, setting a goal of $3.2 million in private donations. The Ideas Lab will also be essential to the University’s plan to offer an Innovative Design master’s program, another new option for students interested in entrepreneurship.

Innovation Design Master's Program

WSU’s proposed Innovation Design master’s, seeking final approval from the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday, will focus primarily on students’ design-thinking skills. Contrary to a traditional program structure, the program only includes four required courses, new product development, prototype development, communication and creativity. This allows students to individually determine the remaining portion of their curriculum, as well as allowing them to create their own opportunities. The Innovative Design master’s program will be available to 20 students per year, launching next spring, and the Ideas Lab will begin construction this summer and is expected to open in 2016.

Ashley Aulbach

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