Trustees cut the ribbon at the Isley Innovation Hub
East Carolina University officials Thursday cut the ribbon on a new space created to bring people together on campus to brainstorm ideas and solve problems.
The Isley Innovation Hub has transformed the former campus bookstore in the Wright Building into a 15,000 square foot multipurpose space for entrepreneurial students, faculty and staff to brainstorm, collaborate and create ideas and products. “Hear what I say: amazing things are going to happen in this space in the next five years,” said Mike Harris, interim dean of the College of Business.
In addition to open space, the hub features a One Button Studio for recording high-quality videos, a technology lab with software for design and testing, the Wornom Makerspace, 3D printers and scanners, an automated cutting machine, power and hand tools, and a sewing machine for handy ones idea experiments.
The Innovation Center builds on the success of the college’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship, North Carolina’s first named entrepreneurship school. Eleven new companies have been created since the Miller School opened, said Van Isley, a member of the ECU’s board of trustees, who co-funded the innovation center with his wife Jennifer. “We don’t necessarily need home runs; A few base hits can make a big difference,” he said.
Isley thanked Stan Eakin, former dean of the business school; Jim Westmoreland, former Administrator of the College of Business; ECU Graduate and Trustee Fielding Miller; and Harris for their focused efforts over several years to make the space a reality.
“Isley is all about action,” Harris said. “In here we want you to be loud. Every student, every faculty, every staff member—this space was created for the entire campus,” Harris said. “When you have an idea, when you have a problem you want solved, we want Isley to be your first port of call.”
The official opening and ribbon cutting took place at the end of the first day of the regular meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. Chancellor Philip Rogers said “the power of partnerships” was one of the topics at Thursday’s University Affairs Committee meeting. “I know of no better illustration of how a new entity like this can come together through the power of partnerships to advance our mission and goals as an institution. And I think the power of partnerships will sustain this place now and in the future,” Rogers said.
Rogers recalled visiting the Isley Hub during the first week of classes and watching a senior engineering student mentor a newcomer to the makerspace, named after the late Sam Wornom, a dedicated alumnus who served on numerous ECU boards. “And that was a special moment in just a few days of having this place open to really see this power of partnership and the power of our mission in action. The mission we have at ECU really drives this work forward,” he said.
Provost Robin Coger, who has helped create similar areas of innovation on other campuses, said she is excited about this important space, which she believes is “a physical manifestation of cornerstones that are extremely important to our university: teamwork, partnership, innovation.” “.
The value of multidisciplinary collaboration means more than a facility, Coger said, but “an entrepreneurial mindset ecosystem designed to enforce unconventional thinking for the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Technology, and for every college and school at.” from East Carolina University.”
During Friday’s Trustees’ meeting, Rogers said innovation is an area he will urge the campus community to prioritize as part of an update to ECU’s strategic plan. “To cope with the complexities of a changing higher education landscape and chart a course for the next five years, I believe we need to embrace a culture of innovation and be more agile and adaptable across our organization,” he said.
The work will take place concurrently with the UNC Board of Governors updating the system’s strategic plan. “We now have the opportunity to shape the future of ECU over the next five years in constant alignment with the goals and metrics of the system,” he said. Officials are drafting the process and timeline for the plan and will provide updates in the coming months.
As the fall semester begins, Rogers has experienced “a sense of renewed energy and excitement” on campus as he offers a full in-person student experience for the first time in two years. “I can’t think of a better time to live up to our collective responsibilities, fulfill our commitments and provide our learners with a quality educational experience,” he said.
In other shops, ECU trustees:
- Approved on Friday a 2023 student housing lease in Manteo for the Coastal Studies Institute semester in the Coast program as part of the Trustees’ approval agenda.
- I heard from Alex Keddie, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Compliance, who updated the Athletics and Advancement Committee’s Rules on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor for university funding, said contributions to ECU’s Pursue Gold campaign had reached US$413.4 million. He thanked the campaign contributors and those who are helping ECU reach its $500 million goal.
- Receiving information from Student Affairs, Research, Economic Development and Engagement (REDE) and teaching in a presentation to the Committee on University Affairs on partnerships inside and outside the university. REDE announced that in 2022, ECU received its highest sponsored award ever with $82 million.
- Received an update on several capital projects to be designed and tendered over the coming years, including bathroom and heating and air conditioning system renovations for Fleming Residence Hall; the second phase of the refurbishment of the Mendenhall building, which will allow the ECU registration office to move there; the first phase of renovation of the south wing of the Howell Science Building; a major renovation of the Wheelard Building; and planning a new 200,000-square-foot Brody Medical Education Building that will include a 500-space parking deck. The university has more than $900 million in deferred maintenance projects.
- Heard presentations on civil discourse and freedom of expression from Vice Chancellor Virginia Hardy and Provost Robin Coger to the new Strategy and Innovation Committee. The ECU is committed to providing students, faculty and staff with safe areas for debate, Trustee Tom Furr said.
- Received the Office of Internal Audit and Management Advisory Services Annual Report for fiscal year 2022 on the Audit, Risk Management, Compliance and Ethics Committee. Results included 102 consultations, 50 completed projects, 93 formal recommendations, and the identification of nearly $92,000 in cost savings and financial returns.
The next board meeting will take place on November 3rd and 4th.