Developing a Center for Innovation on Campus

Developing a Center for Innovation
on Campus


February 7 - 9, 2018
Atlanta, GA



Learn to create a center for innovation that serves institutional and local economic goals.

Learn how you can develop a successful center for innovation on your campus that serves as both an academic hub and gateway to the surrounding economic and entrepreneurial environment. Focusing on centers that foster multi-disciplinary learning, industry partnerships, and drive entrepreneurship among students, this conference will enable your team to:

  • Establish a strategic vision for your center
  • Scan your local economic market and identify partners
  • Connect institutional and local economic goals
  • Incorporate your center into the student experience
  • Market your center for sustained growth

We have integrated numerous working sessions into this program to allow you and your team to accomplish critical work while attending the conference. As an added bonus, you will also receive a recording of our popular webinar, Key Considerations for Designing Student-Focused Innovation Spaces.

Site Visit: Technology Square at Georgia Institute of Technology

Technology Square is the main hub of innovation at Georgia Tech. It’s here that Georgia Tech’s collaborative partners tap into the institute’s expertise, students, faculty, and researchers to transfer ideas and technology from labs to the marketplace. During this site visit and tour you will see top-ranking incubation and accelerator programs and the spaces they have created to attract entrepreneurs and startups, as well as have the chance to speak with the stakeholders that brought the hub to life.

Post-Conference Workshop: Understanding Best Practices around Intellectual Property, Tech Transfer, and Commercialization

Centers for innovation and entrepreneurship are often places where students, faculty, and staff begin startups. As such, it is critical that your institution has a clear understanding of intellectual property (IP) and the Tech Transfer process. During this workshop you will take a closer look at IP, Tech Transfer, and commercialization.

Come With Your Team and Save

Your learning needs can best be met when a team from your institution can discuss and prioritize according to your strategic vision. We suggest bringing a team of representatives from the following divisions: academic leadership, student affairs, faculty, facilities planning and management, and corporate and foundation relations. When you register two colleagues, a third can attend for 50% off!

Testimonials from Past Participants of this Training

“An outstanding session. Most helpful and valuable to our planning.”

Brian Jervis, Associate Vice President of Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities, Sheridan College

“Outstanding conference that created value added for our planning objectives.”

Lawrence McNeil, Associate Professor of Economies, Prairie View A&M University

“It was great to have the opportunity to brainstorm as a team around very relevant and helpful questions.”

Eric Davis, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, University of the Fraser Valley.

“Great selection of speakers with varied experience of expertise. Well worth it.”

Dr. Jacqueline Nolte, Dean of Arts, University of Fraser Valley, BC Canada.

“Great conference to learn the essentials of starting up an innovation center and surrounded by individuals with the same energy and mission.”

Annette T. Santos, Dean, Business & Public Administration, University of Guam

“The information obtained at this conference was highly effective to understanding how to structure innovative center for students to develop themselves above and beyond the institution.”

Akil Anderson, Media Director, Emerson College

“Very informational conference that was very organized and topics were discussed thoroughly.”

Martha Maddox, Associate Dean and Professor, Tennessee Wesleyan University

“The conference focused on several perspectives like buy-in of stakeholders, sustainability, marketing, and visit to the Center which brought everything together. The choice of session leaders was outstanding.”

Jayati Ghosh, Associate Dean and Professor, Dominican University of California

“The Academic Impressions conference was transformational for me. The curriculum and speakers perfectly matched my need to know more about developing an Innovation Center. I left invigorated with a set of tools our team will use to take the critical next steps.”

Denise Lucy, Professor and Executive Director, Dominican University of California

“Great way to learn about this space and very helpful for strategic thinking.”

Elizabeth Bussian, Director of Community Relations and Business Manager, Fort Lewis College

“Three days saved our team six months of information gathering and planning.”

Francoise Lepage, Sarlo Distinguished Professor of International Business, Barowsky School of Business, Dominican University of California.

“Great connections with the Innovation community.”

Julie Messing, Executive Director for Entrepreneurship Initiatives, Kent State University

“A truly useful conference.”

Greg Paveza, Dead of Graduate Studies, Southern Connecticut State University

“Information provided had great breadth and depth. I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the conference.”

Peter Kaufman, Associate Professor, Illinois State University


Day 1: Strategically Positioning your Center for Innovation


Conference Registration

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions

1:00 - 1:15 p.m.

Defining Three Types of Centers for Innovation and Their Organizational Structures

1:15 - 2:00 p.m.

Our opening session of day one will provide clear definitions for three different types of centers for innovation, as well as define innovation and entrepreneurship. You will be introduced to the organizational structures institutions are using to establish and operate these different centers. Types of centers discussed will be those that:

  • Facilitate multi-disciplinary learning
  • Foster industry partnerships
  • Drive student entrepreneurship

Establishing a Vision for your Center for Innovation

2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Establishing the vision, mission, and values of your center is a critical first step in creating an innovation center on campus. During this session, we will explore why establishing your vision is important, provide examples of vision statements from other centers, and help you conduct your own visioning exercise. As a group, we will discuss:

  • Key decisions in creating an innovation center
  • Developing a strategic marketing plan
  • Benchmarking against aspirant and peer institutions
  • Short and long term metrics for measuring your success


3:00 - 3:15 p.m.

Working Session: Mapping the Intersection of your Center's and Institution's Mission

3:15 - 3:45 p.m.

This foundational working session will be the first opportunity for your team to map out a strategic vision for your center. Using the vision-setting presentation as a guide, your team will take time to discuss how your institution’s context and mission fits with that of your center. Our experts will be on hand to guide conversation.

Demand - Keys to Scanning the Economic Market to Identify Center Partners

3:45 - 4:45 p.m.

The first major challenge facing any center for innovation or entrepreneurship is identifying partners within the local economic environment. During this session, our expert instructor will discuss keys to a thorough and fruitful search, including:

  • Marketing your center to the right niche
  • Scanning your local environment effectively
  • Balancing potential partner needs with your realities and resources
  • Actively vetting prospective partners according to their goals and resource requirements

Working Session: Identifying Center Partners

4:45 - 5:15 p.m.

Using the work from our mission exercise, this second working session will allow you to begin working within your mission framework to strategize how you will identify and prioritize external partners. Our experts will be on hand to guide your efforts.

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)

5:15 - 6:15 p.m.


Day 2: Considerations for Parallel Institutional and Economic Goals


Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Connecting your Center to the Student Experience and Curriculum

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

At the heart of most centers’ success is a sincere connection to the student learning experience, and this session will address how your center can ensure strong ties to your students. This discussion will include:

  • Benefits of student and corporate engagement
  • Best practices for curricular tie-ins
  • Student innovation, entrepreneurship programs, or co-curricular events
  • Keys to strong internship programs

Integrating Faculty Into the Mission of your Center

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Academic faculty are sincere contributors, if not centerpieces, of any successful center. This morning’s final session will address how your center can best incorporate faculty, including:

  • Determining when and how to invite faculty into the development of your center
  • Incorporating faculty as research partners and/or resources
  • Leveraging faculty as curricular champions
  • Discussing impacts to faculty productivity

Morning Break

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Understanding the Importance of IP and Tech Transfer Related to your Center

10:45 - 11:45 a.m.

This final morning session is devoted to understanding the importance of IP and Tech Transfer as it relates to your center. Included will be discussions on:

  • Distinguishing the center business model perspective between innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Understanding Tech Transfer and commercialization  
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • IP overview when working with students, faculty, and staff

Working Session: Your Institutional Considerations

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Using the morning’s presentations as a guide, this working session will be your opportunity to more specifically consider your context in determining how best to incorporate institutional expectations into a sound center for innovation or entrepreneurship partnerships.

Lunch (included in registration fee)

12:30 - 1:15 p.m.

Site Visit: Technology Square at Georgia Institute of Technology

1:15 - 4:00 p.m.

The main hub of the innovation ecosystem at Georgia Tech is Technology Square in Midtown, Atlanta. It’s here that many of Georgia Tech’s collaborative partners tap into the institute’s expertise, students, faculty, and researchers to transfer ideas and technology from labs to the marketplace. The tour will offer the opportunity to see top-ranking incubation and accelerator programs, and the spaces they have created to attract entrepreneurs and startups.

Panel Discussion

4:00 - 4:45 p.m.

After touring the facility at Georgia Tech you will have an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with the stakeholders that made the center possible.


Day 3: Moving your Center for Innovation Forward


Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Effectively Leading a Center for Innovation

9:00 - 9:45 a.m.

Effective leadership is a critical component of a successful Center for Innovation. This session will focus on key leadership skills required to champion, build, and maintain your center, which include networking and creative decision-making.


9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

Keys to Marketing your Center On and Off Campus

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.

No center is complete without users. During this session, we will discuss best practices for marketing your center to all relevant users both on and off campus. Considerations during this session include:

  • Understanding your capacity for growth and the marketing implications
  • Seeking and securing appropriate donors for your center
  • Differentiating campaigns for multiple audiences
  • Leveraging marketing avenues within your local (and campus) community

Working Session: Selling your Center for Innovation

11:15 - 11:45 a.m.

This final working session will be an opportunity for you to look at how your mission and market can and should drive the promotion of your innovation center. Included in this activity will be tips on how to:

  • Position the mission of your center within a competitive local market
  • Sell your center to your niche
  • Develop an elevator pitch you can present at your own institution

Final Questions and Conference Wrap-Up

11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Lunch for Post-Conference Workshop Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Post Workshop: Understanding Best Practices Around Intellectual Property, Tech Transfer, and Commercialization

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

For many, centers for innovation or entrepreneurship are places for students, faculty, and staff to begin startups. As students, faculty, and staff work through that process, it is important for the institution to have a clear understanding of IP and the Tech Transfer process . This post-conference workshop is designed to take a deeper dive into IP, Tech Transfer, and commercialization. Our expert speakers will walk you through these concepts and provide you with strategies for working with students, faculty, and staff. Key concepts discussed during this workshop will be:

  • Understanding the fundamentals for identifying and protecting IP rights of center stakeholders
  • Understanding commercialism basics of center stakeholders
  • Assessing different IP and commercialization interests among students, staff, faculty, center, and institution
  • Establishing best practices and key policies around IP development and product/service commercialization
  • Strategies for engaging your institution on research and commercialization steps, including Tech Transfer

February 7 - 9, 2018
Atlanta, GA


Hyatt Regency Atlanta
265 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

Room Rate: $190 + Applicable Tax
Room Block Dates: Nights of February 6, 7, and 8, 2018.
Rate Available Until: Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
Reserve Your Room: Click the button below or call 404-577-1234. Please indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.

Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.


Allen Kunkel

Allen Kunkel

Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Director of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center
Missouri State University

Allen is responsible for helping guide the Innovation Center in its mission of supporting businesses concentrating on advanced technology, biotechnology, life sciences, and nanotechnology research and development. He assists in coordinating the resources of the federal, state, and local governments with the resources of Missouri State University to promote business and industrial growth by blending entrepreneurship with research, innovation, and commercialization.  Allen is responsible for engaging the University in economic development activities, including the development of IDEA Commons and development of the University’s business incubator, The eFactory. Allen also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Springfield Innovation, Inc., which is a non-profit organization affiliated with Missouri State University that operates the Missouri innovation center and serves an advisory role with The eFactory.  He also manages the intellectual property portfolio at Missouri State University.


Robert Manasier

Entrepreneur-in-Residence/New Venture Manager
Innovate 518

Robert Manasier is currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence/New Venture Manager for the NYS Capital Region Innovation HotSpot-Innovate518- where he funds and commercializes IP, technology and startups for the 8-county region that includes 14 affiliated campuses and incubators. He also serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for UAlbany Innovation Center and the Sage Colleges. He is a serial entrepreneur with experience in over 128 startups internationally as the CEO of In Focus Brands (a branded go-to-market acceleration firm).  In addition to In Focus Brands, Robert currently serves as Managing Director of EDA Funding & Diamond Point Co-Development Fund; President of IFP Films and EDA Labs, Chief Strategy Officer for; Board Member for Autonomy Distributors, Parkhurst Field Foundation, Saratoga Springs Sports Tourism Chair and Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission.


Dr. Marlo Rencher

Executive Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Cleary University

Dr. Marlo Rencher's responsibilities include entrepreneurial programming, mentorship of student-run businesses and operations at the on-campus entrepreneurial community, and coworking space. She also serves as the faculty chair of the entrepreneurship department at the business-focused university.

A Michigan State University graduate with a BA in marketing, Dr. Rencher also has a MBA from the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Wayne State University. Her research interests exist at the intersection of entrepreneurship, design, technology, and culture. Marlo has founded or co-founded three tech companies. She is a past TEDx speaker and SXSW Interactive panelist.


Dr. Garret Westlake

Executive Director of the da Vinci Center
Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Garret Westlake is heading the transformation of VCU into one of the nation’s leading universities for cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovation, and the inclusion of entrepreneurial thinking as a requisite skill for the innovation economy. As executive director, Dr. Westlake advances university-wide student innovation and entrepreneurship through curriculum as well as through curated experiential education opportunities.

As a technology entrepreneur, Dr. Westlake founded a social impact company that employed individuals with autism in STEM. Prior to joining VCU, Dr. Westlake served as the associate dean of student entrepreneurship for Arizona State University’s #1 ranked Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has worked closely with Ashoka U, the Clinton Global Initiative University, and for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Students and startups he has mentored have been named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for Healthcare Innovation, awarded Rhodes Scholarships, named Resolution Project Fellows, and have been accepted to SXSW and Y Combinator.


Dr. Stephen Whitehead

Associate Provost of Innovation
California University of Pennsylvania

Stephen Whitehead just realized life is a game of hide-and-seek and he’s been hiding too long. It isn’t that he doesn’t like playing games but his hiding doesn’t allow people to recognize his accomplishments. While Associate Provost at California University of Pennsylvania, he led the development of the University’s strategic plan, “Charting our Path Forward”, the development of a center for innovation, and the improvement of STEM educational spaces on campus. He is trained in Human Centered Design thinking by Luma Institute, and often uses these techniques to innovative in higher education. He regularly presents on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), Centers for Innovation, Fab Labs, innovation in K-12, and workforce development in Western Pennsylvania. Steve’s most recent educational accomplishment is surviving Seth Godin’s altMBA (cohort 7). He now feels like “he is standing in an auditorium where the lights just came on.”


Jon Garon

Dean, Shepard Broad College of Law
Nova Southeastern University

Jon is a nationally recognized authority on technology law and intellectual property, particularly copyright law, entertainment and information privacy. Prior to joining Nova Southeastern University in 2014, Garon was the inaugural director of the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Law + Informatics Institute from 2011-2014, and has been in legal education since 1991. He is the author of four books and numerous book chapters and articles, including Pop Culture Business Handbook for Cons and Festivals (Manegiere Publications 2017); The Independent Filmmaker’s Law & Business Guide to Financing, Shooting, and Distributing Independent and Digital Films (A Cappella Books, 2d Ed. 2009); Own It – The Law & Business Guide to Launching a New Business Through Innovation, Exclusivity and Relevance (Carolina Academic Press 2007); and Entertainment Law & Practice (2d Ed. 2014 Carolina Academic Press).

Main Conference Only

$1,495 through Jan. 19$1,595

Learn how to develop a framework for a center for innovation or entrepreneurship on your campus. Plus get a free recording of our webcast, Key Considerations for Designing Student-Focused Innovation Spaces.

Post-Conference Workshop Only

$395 through Jan. 19$495

Join us for our optional workshop, Understanding Best Practices Around Intellectual Property, Tech Transfer, and Commercialization, to walk through important concepts and learn strategies you can use.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Gwen Doyle Herbert
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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