WHAT IS THE BACHELOR of INNOVATION?

The Program: The Bachelor of Innovation™ family of programs is an internationally unique interdisciplinary undergraduate program between the College of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) and College of Business (COB). Bachelor of Innovation™ (BI) is a family structure, similar to a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA), in which particular majors are defined. Included degrees (in alphabetical order): BI in Business Administration, BI in Computer Science, BI in Computer Science Security, BI in Electrical Engineering, and BI in Game Design and Development. Each degree in the program is composed of an emphasis major, an innovation core, and one of 4 cross-discipline cores.

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Student Outcomes: Beyond the already expected technical depth of a UCCS Bachelor graduate, BI students emerge with a distinctive set of experiential skills. These competencies include the following: multi-year multi-discipline team experience working on real problems with local companies; an understanding and experience in the innovation process that transforms ideas into sustainable societal impact; an understanding of business basics, policy, and intellectual property; and through cross-discipline a deeper exploration of globalization issues, creative communication, and technology impact on business. The BI program will benefit both business and science/engineering students as they learn to work together to solve problems.

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A common question is whether these new degrees will be competitive in the marketplace. Laying the foundation for this program, a detailed formal survey of 50 companies across Colorado was conducted. When asked if they would agree with the statement: “I would generally choose a UCCS BI graduate over a BS/BA graduate from other schools such as CU Boulder,” the hypothesis was accepted at the very significant 99.95% (p=0.0005) level. When asked to agree with another statement: “I would be unlikely to hire a UCCS BI student,” the hypothesis was rejected at the very significant 99.998% (p=0.00002) level. These and other questions in the survey strongly suggest that new BI degree students will be more employable than current UCCS graduates, and that the new degrees will be accepted by industry. If there a company does not currently know what the BI degree is, it is still a formal “Bachelors” degree in either engineering or business. The name of the major did not change, just the name of the family.

 

lightbulbMeeting a National Need: In a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) report on “Educating the Engineer of 2020,” the Council on Competitiveness and the Business Roundtable both conclude that teaching the innovation process and changing the education system, especially for engineering, is critical. For example, NAE states:

“Innovation is key ……… there is an undercurrent of awareness that current complexities are so daunting that tinkering at the edges — reforming one course, one program, one department at a time, developing isolated instances of success here and there — is no longer a viable response if we are to build the kind of robust programs in research and education now needed to strengthen the U.S. engineering community by 2020.”

Obviously dramatic reform in engineering education is necessary and not something we are claiming, but a nationally recognized need to which we are responding. The comprehensive nature of the proposed Bachelor of Innovation™ is directly in line with the NEA engineering 2020 guidelines. We are preparing students for the competitive environment in which they will explore their careers.

This Bachelor of Innovation™ family of programs is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program between the College of Engineering and College of Business. The Bachelor of Innovation™ is actually a family structure, comparable with a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts, in which particular majors are defined. Included Programs (in alphabetical order, click on any one to see its details)

BA/BS programs have a major (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the credits), General Education (English, distribution, etc..), College-level requires (more math, etc..), and electives. In comparison, each major in the BI family of programs is composed of an emphasis major, an innovation core, a cross-discipline core, and the general education requirements. The innovation core courses satisfiy most of the campus “compass curriculum” general education requirement, but all with an innovation focus.

The Innovation Core is 27 Credits that are geared toward innovation and entrepreneurship; a key component is multi-disciplinary long-term team activities over the sophomore, junior and senior years. Teams are expected to include students from all years, and may include graduate students. These teams have dynamic membership and team member roles will change on a regular basis. An innovation core includes courses on innovation, entrepreneurship, business and IP law, and policy. Students develop an “innovation portfolio” throughout the program that documents and highlights their roles and contributions in these various courses. This unique common core and experiential learning component are part of what makes the Bachelor of Innovation™ family so unique.

Each major also includes a per-student choice of a cross discipline core, which is a coherent collection of 15 credits from one “cross over” area. The individual will choose this as early as possible in their program, but definitely before sophomore year.

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Business Core (for non-business degrees) provides a broad coverage of business topics.

Creative Communication Core (for any BI major) provides coverage of a variety of communication modes. Courses include both traditional (e.g., oral communication) and non-traditional (e.g., visual arts) communication approaches.

Engineering Technology Core (for non-technology degrees) provides a broad coverage of engineering and technology.

Globalization Core (for any BI major) provides a selection of courses on globalization issues. It will have a language requirement (passing at the second year level) and a collection of international business/policy courses. Students in this option are encouraged to demonstrate at least 3 months residence in a non-English speaking country, which may be met by one semester of study abroad. While abroad, involvements in the Innovation team projects will be virtual but required.