The Institute for Academic Innovation was commissioned on July 24, 2016 at the conclusion of the Provost's Innovation Task Force. The main recommendation from the task force was to provide a campus space of flexibility and connection to support the emergent practices of teaching and learning too often happening in silos or without staffing or support. Dr. Rolin Moe was asked to lead the initiative, using the 2016-2017 school year as a year zero to engineer a space on campus to offer support and shepherd a culture of innovation. The focus of Year Zero was three-fold:
- Establish a structure for campus Innovation Seed Grants, and support recipients in their innovative work
- Work across academic and operational departments to provide research, support and leadership on large-scale innovation and innovative projects
- Develop a space of campus expertise for innovation: how does the concept work at SPU, how do we take ideas and put them into potential practice?
In addition, we were asked to prepare for the future in several ways:
- Identify sources of funding (grants, donors, programs, public-private partnerships) so that in the near future the work of the Institute could be supplemented by these funding sources
- Create relationships across the campus in an effort to break down silos, the purpose being to foster conversation and collaboration for larger-scale action