CIG programs expand across campus with new initiatives to reach students

Baldwin Wallace University’s Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG) is ardently pursuing a variety of expansion efforts intended to further integrate the student body, staff and faculty, and general campus with the litany of possibilities facilitated by the CIG. 

The CIG was founded by Professor Alan Kolp and Peter Rae as a connective point between the world of academia and professional life to cultivate high values such as leadership, entrepreneurialism, and work ethic.  

Under the direction of Lacey Kogelnik, the CIG has continued to grow at an exponential rate over the past several years. Actions and efforts are being emboldened with the introduction of new programs, new speakers and partners, and the revision of existing programs. 

Revisions and expansion are geared towards one primary goal: reach more students.  

“I still think that there are students who are unsure of what the CIG does exactly,” said Shannon Fee, the Growth Practice Director and BW Thrift advisor. “It’s fun and different than anything else on campus. It’s open to all.”  

As a part of her work with the CIG, Fee heads an interactive learning fellowship colloquium known as the Ratcliffe Student Fellowship Program, by which students are able to attend exclusive sessions with prominent figures of business and entrepreneurship from the community to have hands-on experience with innovation models and techniques and to discuss the essential values of leadership.  

The selection process remains the same, requiring a staff nomination and student application. However, the fellowship will have two sessions, one in spring and one in fall, opposed to the previous year long cycle.  

“The primary purpose is to reach more people, and the class sizes have already gotten a little large. To keep discussions productive, we hope to have more people between the two sessions but less per class. That way discussions are a little more engaging,” said Fee.  

Other programs are revising and experiencing growth as well. LaunchNet, an offered service of the CIG that helps cultivate ideas into reality by providing resources, support, and advice, has seen immense growth in participation and success form the many efforts of its manager, Hannah Schlueter.  

Last year, Schlueter hosted approximately fifteen venture clinics per semester. With the increased interest in the program, Schlueter offered fifteen venture clinics just last week.  

LaunchNet is “intentional with our collaborations,” said Schlueter. “We go to where you are no matter your major. Creativity is a skill every major will need.” 

CIG programs are experiencing growth across the board with instituted opportunities like BW Thrift, or the increased partnerships and sponsorships of the consulting internship known as the Growth Practice internship.  

With the horizon of 2018 looking positive and promising, the continued challenge for the CIG will be to integrate departments and their available resources with the endeavors and aspirations of CIG programs. 

“When we look at our five-year plan, we’re hitting all of our goals. Quadruple the amount of people from last year are utilizing LaunchNet,” Fee said, “but right now, it’s an issue of resources. While the University supports us, we are externally funded. It’s all about the resources and right now we have a limited amount of staff, so we’re working within our capability. To continue achieving all these great things, its going to take cooperation and collaboration with different divisions.”  

This collaboration isn’t just centered around student cooperation, but also encourages campus-wide contribution from BW community members. 

“Since we offer the unique opportunity to engage with other students across majors, we are actively trying to engage faculty and staff across campus as much as we are students. That’s why it’s great to have different cooperation with divisions because the faculty usually has great ideas for how to make events more rewarding than we could on our own,” said Fee. 

Continued projective growth and expansive integration with the BW campus community is contingent on the cooperation and availability of different departments.  

“So many places on campus promote innovation. Networking those resources is what will best promote entrepreneurship and creativity for all students,” said Schlueter.