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College of Nursing Embraces Innovation at Summer Retreat

Two-day event at the UC 1819 Innovation Hub gives faculty and staff of the College of Nursing exposure to the variety of tools available at the hub.

Innovation was the theme of a two-day retreat by the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing, held recently at the UC 1819 Innovation Hub on Reading Road. The event helped lay the groundwork for the college’s upcoming academic year, where innovation will be front and center.

Approximately 110 faculty and staff attended the first day of the retreat on Monday, August 13. Greer Glazer, PhD, dean of the College of Nursing, set the tone with her remarks at the opening of the conference.

“I know that you, as faculty, are constantly creating,” said Glazer. “Nurses are constantly creating. One thing I’m very hopeful of is you’re teaching our students to innovate from the very first day they’re here.”

Matt Rota, PhD, assistant dean of technology for the College of Nursing, says the first day was to familiarize attendees with the 12,000 square foot makerspace at the 1819 Innovation Hub and expose them to the various features of the space, including 3D printers, laser cutters, app development and 3D modeling.

“This will allow faculty and staff to start thinking of new ways to innovate in their roles in the college and get faculty thinking how they can begin incorporating innovation into their courses and getting students to innovate with them,” said Rota. “There’s a lot that nurses do to innovate within the clinical environment, so this will give our students the mindset to start thinking critically as nurse leaders.”

Drew Boyd, associate professor and executive director of the Master of Science in Marketing Program at the UC Linder College of Business, was the first presenter of the retreat, hosting an “Innovative Thinking and Strategy Session.” Boyd is an internationally-known public speaker on creativity and innovation. His presentation introduced the group to systematic inventive thinking, which is an innovation method that harnesses five thinking patterns that have been used for thousands of years. 

Also presenting were facilitators from Start Something Bold, a Mariemont based firm, who provided an overview of design thinking. Start Something Bold helps organizations navigate the complexity of innovation.

“Innovation is a mindset and practice that helps organizations evolve for the future and seize opportunities,” said David Adams, chief innovation officer for UC. “Educating students to think critically and pursue their passions in an increasingly complex world requires us to teach innovation, which we embrace on all levels as an institution. I’m thrilled to see the College of Nursing leveraging the 1819 Innovation Hub to foster new ideas, partnerships and approaches. 

Rota says the inspiration behind the retreat was Dean Glazer.

“When she learned this space was going to be opened, Greer saw the potential and opportunities and invited faculty to participate,” says Rota. “We are going to be the first college within UC to bring students to the 1819 Innovation Hub this fall, as all of our first-year students and juniors will be going over to the makerspace as part of regularly scheduled classes.”

Rota says 30 College of Nursing faculty signed up to teach classes in the makerspace after Glazer first suggested the idea. Those 30 faculty were on hand for the second day of the retreat on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

“The faculty became the students and paired up in teams, rotating through the various challenge stations, going through the design thinking process and building prototypes,” says Rota. “Nurses create a lot of patents, so this makerspace will give faculty tools to get nursing students to think of ways to create new products.”

The retreat attendees were given the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Of those, 98 percent said they now have a better understanding of systematic inventive thinking and design thinking, 100 percent said they were better aware of the resources of the 1819 Innovation Hub and 86 percent said the entire retreat was excellent or very good.

“The retreat was perfect to generate excitement for the upcoming year and potential for innovation that we realize,” said one commenter.

“As the assistant dean for technology, it’s very exciting to see people at the College of Nursing adopting an innovative mindset,” says Rota. “Three key elements of the Apple Distinguished Program are innovation, leadership and vision, so this perfectly aligns with those.”

The emphasis on innovation heading into the new academic year seamlessly aligns with the College of Nursing mission statement, “Through the creative leveraging of technology and inclusive excellence, the College of Nursing will lead the transformation of health care in partnership with the people we serve.”

Glazer even mentioned the possibility of adding the word “innovation” to that mission statement sometime soon.

“While you’re educating the next generation of caregivers, you are educating the next group of people who are going to make huge differences in everybody’s lives,” said Glazer. “It’s going to be nurses who will lead the transformation of health care through innovation.”