The institute has three main goals:
Encourage the cultivation of ideas that lead to relevant and sustainable university services, curricular innovations and new interdisciplinary academic programs.
Act as a bridge for innovation, generating opportunities for engagement between the university and the community at large.
Utilize design thinking and create a dedicated space for innovation and entrepreneurial engagement to advance a culture of creativity on campus.
This is driven by NMU’s commitment to ensure that all learners are provided the educational experiences needed for the jobs of today and into the future.
The rapid emergence of technologies and the continuous evolution of workforce needs have disrupted decades of traditional models of formal postsecondary education. As a result, a growing number of students and adult learners are seeking credentials outside of a traditional degree. SISU: The Innovation Institute seeks to identify collaborative opportunities that increase educational access through the development of alternative educational pathways and service innovations that address the most pressing needs and wants of our students.
Equally important is the value of work-related student experience. Employers prefer to hire students who have had internships and other practical learning engagements. The institute seeks to create strategic opportunities and partnerships to provide enriching, real-world experiences to students before they enter the workforce. Part of this involves building a student-employer network to benefit both parties.
The institute is engaged in expanding partnerships and innovations within the local community and beyond, which could have far-reaching impacts. Faculty and industry collaboration can re-imagine how such partnerships can improve the social and economic well-being of the communities we serve. These connections will be enhanced by learning networks to connect faculty, researchers, policymakers, community and industry leaders.
Each area is guided by Design Thinking, a non-linear, iterative process used to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions.
Bringing it all together, the institute itself is designed to support the cultivation and launch of entrepreneurial ideas formed by the myriad participants at all stages of the design cycle.
By Sarah O'Neill '10 BS