UNCG Campus Weekly

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School of Education launches Impact Through Innovation initiative

The UNCG School of Education is seeking to address its core purpose – changing lives through advancing access to life’s opportunities – through a new initiative, Impact Through Innovation (ITI).  ITI aims to put ideas into action, connecting SOE faculty with the broader community through innovative and collaborative projects. ITI leverages ideas that emerge within the SOE to create tangible programs, services, and products that address our most pressing social needs.

Through ITI, SOE faculty and students can benefit from consultation to optimize the impact of their academic pursuits, education and training on applying an innovation mindset in their work, networking with community organizations to impact the direction and scope of educational research and scholarship, and funding to support innovation.

An example is Gate City Writes (GCW), facilitating opportunities for teachers to write and teach writing alongside K-12 students in the form of professional development. In addition, GCW supports young writers as they draft and publish a text using digital media during a summer camp. Each year, the camp serves 80 young writers in grades 3-12.  The goal of GCW is to connect research in writing education to classroom practice by engaging K-12 educators and students with university faculty in a collaborative writing community. GCW creates a structured space for teachers to learn and enact necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes related to the teaching of writing within their school communities. Research done with the young writers and teachers enhances understandings about how to better foster successful writing practices in the 21st century.
Another example is The STEM Teacher Leader Collaborative (TLC), a community of teachers, teacher candidates, university faculty, administrators, local business leaders and community stakeholders that supports, celebrates and sustains teachers’ efforts to include enriching, rigorous, equitable and responsive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction in high-needs elementary schools in the North Carolina Piedmont Triad. Through an annual reception and summit, week-long STEM TLC Summer Institutes, and year-long virtual professional supports such as webinars and coaching, the STEM TLC supports teachers’ empowerment in making important instructional changes, taking instructional risks, and reconnecting with the vision that brought them to teaching. As of January 2017, Dr. Heidi Carlone, Dr. Jennifer Mangrum and a team of UNCG students have conducted Summer Institutes with approximately 60 classroom teachers in high-needs schools in Guilford County and reached an estimated 1,500 students who are typically underrepresented in STEM.

Current board members include:

Staton Noel III, Director, Office of Innovation Commercialization, UNCG
Matthew Rascoff, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education and Innovation at Duke University
W. Noah Reynolds, Coleman Entrepreneur in Residence, The Bryan School of Business & Economics, UNCG
Susan M. Safran, Board of Trustees, UNCG
J. Scott Young, School of Education, Dean’s Fellow of Innovation

More information, including how to apply for ITI services and support, is available at soeinnovation.uncg.edu.


For any questions, contact Scott Young at jsyoung3@uncg.edu.


Presentations about Impact Through Innovation will be given at SOE functions over the coming weeks.