Idea marketplace explores ideas

FAIRBORN — Creating new spaces for student engagement, eliminating paper on campus, offering core courses online and providing every student with an experiential learning opportunity were among the ideas sparking interest at the latest strategic planning mini-summit.

These were a just a small sample of the roughly 75 project ideas, designed to have high impact on Wright State University, presented at the July 13 open house-style event.

During the idea marketplace, each of the 15 strategic initiative working groups set up large colorful displays describing the project ideas they want to include in the strategic plan. Groups were encouraged to think boldly as they developed their proposals.

The first-floor gallery space at 2455 Presidential Drive buzzed with excitement as nearly 200 participants spent about two hours visiting each display, listening to presentations and sharing their thoughts about the projects.

Participants were tasked with buying — with brightly colored stickers — the ideas they think are most important for the university’s future.

The feedback provided by participants, said Mike Wiehe, co-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, “will help us prioritize ideas that we can keep developing in the strategic plan.”

Project ideas from the strategic initiative working groups are available for review on the strategic planning website. Those who were unable to attend the idea marketplace can learn more about the projects and provide feedback online.

President Cheryl B. Schrader said the project ideas shared at the idea marketplace will help shape the university’s future.

“We are going into our next 50 years with a common purpose. With shared priorities and tremendous excitement about where this institution is going, with what it will mean to everybody, not just at Wright State, but also in the community and across the state of Ohio and beyond,” Schrader said.

Daniel Palmer, president of the Student Government Association, said the marketplace helped build collaboration among units across campus.

“This is a great way to boost morale on campus and get a lot of buy-in from people from all walks of life,” he said. The summit showed that student voices can be heard at Wright State and “our ideas will be implemented if they’re possible,” he added.

Gina Keucher, program director, student activities, is a member of the Student Academic Support Services working group, which has emphasized several student-focused projects. “At Wright State, one of the things we do best is to put our students first,” she said.

Noting that she has been at Wright State for 14 years, Keucher said she is invested in the university.

“I love the excitement that this is bringing for what we can be in the future and how we build on who we already are, embrace who we are as a university and move forward,” she said.

The proposed project ideas are organized around the themes of collaborative delivery of services; research, innovation and entrepreneurship; strategic relationships and partnerships; teaching, learning and programming; and the Wright State experience.

Academic-focused ideas include implementing inter-collegiate undergraduate degree programs from diverse disciplines; developing a combined dining commons, kitchen, farm and food curriculum; and creating an entrepreneurship center to encourage a culture of innovation.

Some ideas focus on university operations, including providing time for employees for training, mentoring and community service; creating an environment of trust, transparency; and holding university summits.

Other working groups have proposed projects with an external focus, including establishing an office of community/corporate engagement; attracting more military personnel to enroll in classes; and opening a university welcome center.