School:George Fox University

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George Fox University has a community that is ready to encourage an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. The physical resources and infrastructure have been heavily improved, and hands-on learning is a priority among the faculty. Where it is lacking is in implementation; students face a lack of resources and mentoring which makes spinout difficult.

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

George Fox University promotes many opportunities for students to discover innovation and entrepreneurship. One way this is done is through classes that encourage innovative thinking through projects. These classes include Engineering Principles, a two part class involving semester long team or individual projects designed to expand students open-ended problem solving skills and give them the technical knowledge and resources to design, model, and produce the product.  Another engineering class is microprocessors, where students design a completely custom circuit board that does anything they want within the scope of the class.  In the business department, George Fox offers a variety of entrepreneurship and start-up focused classes which attempt to be as close to real business settings as possible. In a managerial accounting class students have to create their own hypothetical campground business and present financial projections. There are multiple marketing and entreprenurship classes that give students the opportunity to work on real business projects for real companies. In a manufacturing class offered at the school, students learn about manufacturing processes before visiting a variety of factories so that they may make educated observations and suggestions. All around the business and engineering departments George Fox University has the ability to promote innovation and entrepreneurship through their many communication channels and deep industry connections. 

Another avenue for student entrepreneurship is through the newly built Maker's space. The impressive 16,000 sq. ft engineering playground boasts a full machine shop, surveying shop, woodworking equipment, an additive manufacturing and prototype lab, an extensive tool room, and several computer labs. It is here that every freshman engineer learns to build a wobbler engine and compete their engine against the other engineering freshmen in the infamous Wobble Off. Here students have the opportunity to work on their own projects, from arcade machines to popsicle stick bridges to anything they can think of. A new modification since 2020 allows all majors at George Fox to take the access quiz to the MakerHub, and utilize the different facilities within. This creates room for innovation to be bridged across disciplines beyond engineering, if executed in a proper manner that teaches all users of the space the full capabilities of being in there.  

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

George Fox faculty focus is on teaching, though some research does happen throughout the school year and is more common in the summer. To advance at George Fox as a faculty member, you need to show quality teaching and some form of continuing scholarship, however scholarship is not required to be research with students, it can be an article in a peer-reviewed journal or a speech at a conference. The faculty do have diverse industrial backgrounds and passion projects, and they are beginning to share those with the students. For instance, a few years ago several faculty members with experience in the developing world have invited students to join them in Peru for a summer service project. The faculty's passion for service has the potential to foster a positive I&E culture on campus.

Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

Unfortunately, George Fox University has no technology transfer office or any means of aiding students in connecting with industry to share new ideas. 

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

George Fox has connections with many local businesses such as A-dec, Legacy Health, and Nike, to name a few. Employees of these companies serve on advisory boards and attend regular career fairs. Many are also George Fox alums. Classes in manufacturing and start-up style business make trips to see companies practicing the principles they are learning about in class. The engineering program also has close relations with local industry through Senior Design, a capstone class in which senior students develop a product in conjunction with an industry partner.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

Despite our close ties with local industries, George Fox University makes a minimal effort to benefit the community economically. At the beginning of the year, students receive a 'coupon card' with various discounts that students can use at local shops and restaurants, but the focus of this is to plug students into the community, and not necessarily to benefit the local economic development efforts. Some outside contracting is done through the maker's space, print shop, ceramics labs, sporting events, or other resources on campus but very little advertising goes into these functions and they are not widely encouraged.

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Related Links

George Fox University

George Fox University Strategic Priorities

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