Seeing research come alive with the implementation of programs that change perspectives and empower educators and their students to move forward while crushing roadblocks, is inspiring! Every challenge creatively addressed; every mindset rerouted in a positive direction is transformative growth. The hoped-for possibilities become accomplishments. Impact can be measured and it affects future growth. People flourish and their influence on current and future generations is the fruit of their vision.

The Impact Through Innovation initiative engages the School of Education’s students and faculty in becoming change agents by creating and promoting effective ways to meet challenges faced by educational institutions, their faculty, students and the communities in which they are situated.

Blending education, innovation and entrepreneurship, ITI seeks to improve lives through three channels:

Innovation consultation session in a conference room


Providing educational and training programs for School of Education faculty, students and alumni that address practical and theoretical knowledge required to bring about innovative ideas and recognize and act on opportunities.

Innovators work to improve a project


Research focused on recognizing and understanding the ingredients that lead to innovation, producing positive impacts for individuals, institutions and communities, within a culture of shared knowledge that shapes programming and resource allocation.

A group of students uses 3D goggles


Moving from ideas to actions, the School of Education community connects innovation with the expertise and resources it needs to grow. This includes engagement with key communities and partners, equity, diversity and creating meaningful impact outside of UNC Greensboro.

innovation Projects

Transformative education occurs when ideas and knowledge are blended to create effective programs, services and products that improve lives. The UNC Greensboro School of Education’s Impact Through Innovation (ITI) Initiative identifies opportunities to address educational challenges and empowers faculty, administrators, researchers, practitioners, students and communities with new ways to meet these challenges. ITI promotes positive change by addressing educational challenges, moving from ideas to actions that are poised to improve lives, schools and communities. Innovation provides the spark that ignites minds and hearts to engage in exciting life-long opportunities for intellectual growth. It’s already working – ITI is a proven catalyst and incubator for change – and we invite you to join us!

The IDEA Model of Project Development evolves through four phases: idea formation, development (launching, testing, assessing, retooling), expansion and acceleration, which moves the project forward through applications and new growth opportunities. The UNC Greensboro School of Education’s Impact Through Innovation Initiative endeavors to support the movement of projects through these development phases, putting ideas into action and working at the intersection of education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The Idea Model is a proven model developed to help move innovations from the idea phase toward expanded impact. As Dr. Noah Lenstra, LIS, worked on his Ph.D., he looked at the role public libraries and senior centers play in supporting senior citizens’ digital literacy. An unexpected discovery was how often seniors spoke with others in the library about exercise and their motivations to stay active. Could libraries address physical literacy, advancing physical education? Dr. Noah Lenstra developed an idea of how this could work. The Impact Through Innovation model offered an excellent platform, through which Dr. Lenstra could move from collecting data, doing webinars and developing a website to greater levels of impact.

  • Idea – An idea is formed, shared and vetted to determine whether it is useful and has the potential to work well. This is followed by planning for implementation and feedback on its usefulness.
  • Development – After the idea is launched and assessed, there is a re-evaluation. Any changes or retooling needed to improve performance are addressed.
  • Expansion – As the project is used in the field it matures. Feedback from current and potential users leads to expansion and growth.
  • Acceleration – New growth opportunities will present themselves as the expansion rolls out to other interested parties. User experiences and comments provide information for upgrades to the existing project and complementary projects that address additional challenges.

The Impact Through Innovation (ITI) Initiative provides distinct services tailored to the needs of the School of Education faculty and the phases of their projects’ development. Four areas – Consultation, Education, Networking and Support – receive strong focus, and together they strengthen collaborative initiatives and results.

ITI endeavors to assist School of Education faculty and students in expanding the influence of their work beyond traditional academic outlets, with the intention of making a more substantive and lasting impact on the world.

  • Consultation – ITI staff work with faculty through one-to-one and small group consultation to provide visionary coaching and optimize the larger social impact of their academic pursuits.
  • Education – ITI provides faculty and students with a range of educational opportunities about the entrepreneurial mindset and its relevance in training teachers, educational leaders, research methodologists, librarians, counselors, special educators and others who interact with educational systems.
  • Networking – ITI is positioned to broker partnerships between School of Education faculty/students and various organizations in our community to impact the direction and scope of educational entrepreneurship, research and programming.
  • Support – ITI is positioned to provide faculty with investment to support innovation within educational systems and other professional settings in which faculty work.

Faculty Impact

Innovation is at the core of effective and transformative education. Inspirational faculty members continually seek out new ideas and effective ways of engaging their students. The UNC Greensboro School of Education offers its faculty many opportunities to engage in innovative projects. Through projects, faculty members can address challenges faced by educators and the communities they serve. Learn more about some of the faculty’s recent innovative projects.

Student Impact

Impact Through Innovation provides opportunities for students to learn the innovation process. Using the Kickbox innovation toolkit, students have created a number of fascinating projects to address specific problems in education. The projects described here illustrate students’ creative solutions to real-world problems in their fields of study. Beyond the initial Kickbox process, ITI has also supported students’ efforts to expand and scale their ideas to better meet the needs that they encounter in practice.

Reach Out to ITI

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