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Loyola selected to participate in NSF-funded Pathways to Innovation Program

| By Nick Alexopulos
2015 Pathways to Innovation team members
Leaders of the Pathways to Innovation team from each participating school. Suzanne Keilson, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering at Loyola, is in the first row, second from right. (Photo courtesy Epicenter)

Loyola University Maryland is one of 25 U.S. colleges and universities selected to participate in the 2015 Pathways to Innovation Program, a national initiative designed to help institutions fully incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education.

Two faculty members each from Loyola’s engineering, computer science, and physics departments will be on the University’s Pathways team. Loyola is the only participating school to involve two disciplines in addition to engineering.

“We are serious about ensuring our natural and applied sciences education connects theory with real-world application in the context of innovation and entrepreneurial mindsets rather than narrowly defined in technical knowledge,” said Bahram Roughani, Ph.D., associate dean for natural and applied sciences at Loyola. “Turning knowledge into solutions is the spirit of the Pathways program, and that’s why this is such an incredibly valuable opportunity for us and for our students.”  

In the two-year program, participating schools assemble a team of faculty and academic leaders to assess their institution’s current offerings, design a unique strategy for change, and lead their peers in a transformation process. Teams receive access to custom online resources, models for integrating entrepreneurship into the curriculum, guidance from a community of entrepreneurship faculty, and membership in a national network of schools with similar goals.

Projects developed by schools in the 2014 Pathways cohort include innovation certificates and majors, maker and flexible learning spaces, first-year and capstone courses, faculty fellows programs, innovation centers, and cross-institutional collaborations. Roughani said an analysis of these projects will help Loyola identify and pursue collaboration opportunities among science and non-science academic programs, clubs, and organizations, creating an ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Loyola is the only Jesuit school and the only school in Maryland selected for the program. Loyola’s Pathways team includes Roughani and the following faculty:

  • Suzanne Keilson, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering
  • Robert Pond, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering
  • Dawn Lawrie, Ph.D., professor and chair of computer science
  • M.S. Raunak, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science
  • Randall Jones, Ph.D., associate professor of physics
  • Mary Lowe, Ph.D., professor of physics

Pond, Lawrie, Raunak, Jones, and Roughani will attend a meeting of all participants in Phoenix, Ariz., in February to begin initiative programming.

The Pathways program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. More information is available at epicenter.stanford.edu/pathways-to-innovation.

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