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Oceana Puananilei Francis, Aaron Ohta, Tyler Ray, Lin Shen, Zac Trimble and Jeff Weldon have been selected to participate in the Faculty Fellows inaugural cohort.

The University of Hawaiʻi has launched Faculty Fellows, a new experiential certificate training program available to UH System faculty interested in growing the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship capacity. Six faculty from the College of Engineering at UH Mānoa have been selected to participate in the inaugural cohort:

“Our Faculty Fellows possess a track record of high-impact teaching practices for the courses that they currently teach, each engaged in areas that warrant new transformative approaches to address pressing challenges for emerging industries of our future,” said Rebecca H. Chung, Faculty Fellows program lead and UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) associate director, innovation programs. “This program will provide them instructional strategies to pioneer new ways to engage students in inclusive STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, and stimulate greater cross-disciplinary training to strengthen the next generation workforce development.”

Faculty Fellows will participate in interactive workshops and panel discussions curated by OIC in partnership with VentureWell, a long-standing collaborator with the National Science Foundation which cultivates a pipeline of academic inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Through the program, Faculty Fellows will leverage the customer discovery process both inside and outside the classroom, teach experientially using the Business Model Canvas, and integrate Lean Startup methodology principles in curriculum development using a Backward Design approach.

Following completion of the certificate training, Faculty Fellows will continue collaborating to build a community of practice around innovation as a mechanism to promote sustained peer-to-peer learning. Teaching interest groups will be established for Faculty Fellows to meet on a semester basis to form a network of support, share ideas and approaches, and develop solutions across domains of expertise to identify next steps in course design and curriculum mapping. Any UH faculty that is interested is welcomed to join.

“In alignment with our UH Strategic Plan, this program allows us to create a pathway for faculty to engage in and promote innovation and entrepreneurship at UH,” said Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation. “We have selected an exceptional inaugural cohort all involved in impact-driven teaching and research, and look forward to having them help us build an active and collaborative ecosystem of innovation educators and academic entrepreneurs throughout the state.”

This program is funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop and advance energy, marine and other blue economy technologies and opportunities in Hawaiʻi by providing experiential education and cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship training in order to build a diversified and resilient economy, and a stronger, more sustainable workforce for the state.

For more information about the program, visit this website. Additional updates will be posted on the OIC website or email for more details.

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