By: Willy Nichter Photo Cred: Center for Civic Engagement
Drew University is offering a new course entitled “Innovation: Special Topics in Civic Engagement – Creating Organizations That Solve Problems,” which will begin in the Fall 2018 semester.
The course, offered by the Center of Civic Engagement, is a collaborative effort on the part of several faculty members and is designed to help students find solutions to major social problems that they deem important.
“In this course, students can choose a topic, or a problem, that they are passionate about and work on devising and implementing a solution,” said Doctor Minjoon Kouh, Associate Professor and Chair of the Physics Department.
He went on to say, “Some students may recognize this as establishing their own start-up company with an innovative product, and others may identify this as creating an organization for a clearly-defined social cause.”
The course came about, according to Professor Amy Koritz of the English Department, due to the success of an innovation-themed Town Hall held last year. It was an event where, in Koritz’s words, “students and professional mentors worked together to create and pitch ideas to a panel of judges.”
“There will be lots of opportunities to learn,” says Dr. Kouh, “and practice good communication skills and teamwork.”
The course flyer promises that students will “build [their] problem solving skills” as well as “act, think and collaborate across many different fields…in formulating solutions to real world problems.”
When asked about specific activities the students could potentially participate in, Koritz says, “A team of the class will be participating in a state-wide pitch competition where they will present the project they have been working on all year.”
Regarding the specific curriculum, Dr. Kouh said, “During the first semester, students will learn the basics of developing an organization (especially with a team of students from different areas) and explore various problem domains.”
“Towards the end of the Fall semester,” he continued, “students will identify the topics and projects that they will work on during the spring semester.”
When asked about who the course could most appeal to, he said, “This course will be of interests to entrepreneurially-minded students who are thinking about possibly creating their own companies or organizations in the future…They will get to experience what that process may be like.”
The course will be taught by Professor Andreas Panayi, and will be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Registration for the Fall semester is open now.