VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation Recognized by National Academy of Engineering
VCU School of Engineering
Cassie Williams Jones
University Public Affairs
The National Academy of Engineering has selected the Virginia Commonwealth University da Vinci Center for Innovation as an outstanding academic program to be included in its Real World Experiences into Engineering Education publication that highlights best practices for schools seeking to create new programs.
VCU is among 29 schools chosen from across the country, including Cornell, Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to earn this recognition from the prestigious academy.
An original collaboration of the Schools of the Arts, Business and Engineering, the VCU da Vinci Center is a unique collegiate model that advances interdisciplinary innovation and technology-based entrepreneurship. Through academic and other program offerings, the da Vinci Center catalyzes innovation through the unity of arts, business and engineering principles as it prepares students to enter a product innovation career and supports learning initiatives by partner organizations.
“I am proud that the academy is recognizing the da Vinci Center for the real-world opportunities it provides students and their clients and because of the unique research opportunities that are afforded by the collaboration among the engineering, arts and business disciplines,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “These types of collaborations are key to a national research university's increasing role in shaping our future in a progressive society.”
"This recognition is a great honor, and affirms the unique value and importance that innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration has for today’s work environment,” added Kenneth Kahn, Ph.D., professor of marketing in the VCU School of Business and director of the da Vinci Center. “This honor also affirms the vision and hard work of the administrators, faculty, and staff who supported the creation of the VCU da Vinci Center and who are helping to grow our programs towards national and international prominence."
The best practices outlined in the report include incorporating multidisciplinary team-based projects into curricula to help students develop skills in decision-making, leadership, written and oral communication, organization/time management, cultural awareness and problem solving.
Ninety-five nominations were reviewed by the committee and judged based on seven factors: program creativity, innovation, attention to diversity (including geographic, institution, racial/ethnic and gender), sustainability plan, assessment of student learning, level of real-world experience and anticipated versus actual outcomes.
“Our goal is to provide examples of best practices that represent the broad geographic and institutional diversity of engineering education,” said Elizabeth T. Cady, Ph.D., program officer, National Academy of Engineering. “We were impressed by the commitment to infusing real-world experience in engineering education. VCU is to be congratulated.”
The da Vinci Center offers an undergraduate Certificate in Product Innovation and recently launched the nation’s first Master of Product Innovation program. In addition to the current collaboration, the College of Humanities and Sciences will be joining the da Vinci Center later this semester.
The da Vinci Center enrolls 51 students in its undergraduate Certificate in Product Innovation program and 10 in the inaugural class of the Master of Product Innovation. Another 40 students are enrolled in the center’s Seminar in Product Innovation class – an introductory class on innovation open to the university community.
The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.
To download the full report, visit http://nextgenengineer.amd.com/ or go to http://www.nae.edu/Publications/65099.aspx.
- About VCU and the VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.