A Culture of Innovation

Examples and illustrations of potential outcomes of embracing a culture of innovation

The examples below are ideas our subcommittee discussed as we formulated what we have  outlined in the earlier sections.  These ideas and examples are presented not as prescriptions for the university, but for reference because they helped ground our discussion in specifics – case studies of innovative ideas and how they might be encouraged, shaped, tested, improved, and implemented though a thoroughly supportive institutional culture.

Google's founders were shaped by an exploratory, interest-driven, student-centered education.

  • Transforming interdisciplinary education through flexible, student‐focused curricula to improve recruiting, retention, and competitiveness of graduates.
  • Committing ourselves to a student‐centered learning model that accelerates cognitive development.
  •  Offering an entire range of new interdisciplinary and trans‐disciplinary majors, from nanoscience/nanotechnology to systems biology to social economics, while maintaining traditional academic units and professional disciplines.


RoMeLa: Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at VT
Undergraduates and graduates participating in research and hands-on experiences with robotics.

  • Transitioning to an environmentally sustainable campus. Just as we were at one time the first “wired” community in the world (the Blacksburg Electronic Village), we can be the first energy‐independent and carbon‐neutral campus in the world. Besides an enormous research opportunity, it would also be central to our learning and engagement mission.
  • Expanding “living laboratories” with external partners (like the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing) as the Land Grant University of the 21st Century with the potential to energize students, solve complex global problems, tap new funding streams, and expand our presence in the NCR, new areas of the commonwealth, and internationally.

The "eCorridors" project aims "to facilitate and promote the ability for every person, organization, and community in Virginia and beyond to have the capability, at a reasonable cost, to produce and access high volume information and services in the networked world."

  • Creating hubs of action that focus on solving great social challenges, such as addressing water issues in Africa, that erase the distinction and silos of discovery‐learning‐engagement and bring together a wide range of social and physical disciplines.

Download the current draft of the Envisioning Excellence subcommittee report (PDF).

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