UNA Team Earns Innovation Honor

L-R - Mary Marshall VanSant, Dr. Doug Barrett, Giles McDaniel, and Mitch Hamm formed a panel honored for Excellence in Curriculum Innovation. (Courtesy photo)

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama was honored recently at the 8th Deshpande Symposium at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

UNA’s Institute for Innovation and Economic Development last week received the Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship on college and university campuses. The Institute for Innovation and Economic Development is housed within UNA’s College of Business.

“This award affirms our College of Business is offering students the right blend of innovation and entrepreneurship courses as well as those that will provide experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities,” said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. “We believe this establishes a strong foundation for future career growth and development.”

The award evaluates programs like UNA’s. It measures the support for innovation and entrepreneurship across curriculum beyond traditional business and management disciplines, student leadership opportunities related to the development of entrepreneurial culture, skills and practice, and evidence of student achievement and success through the programs.

The Deshpande Symposium is a gathering of more than 300 like-minded practitioners focused on accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship across the college and university environment.

At the Symposium, UNA participated in a joint panel representing regional universities introducing dynamic ecosystem transformation projects that have changed the economic trajectory of their campuses and their communities.

UNA was represented by Dr. Doug Barrett, Mitch Hamm, and Mary Marshall VanSant. The three were joined by Shoals Business Incubator Director, Giles McDaniel, to form a panel along with representatives from Queen’s University of Ontario, Canada. The Shoals Business Incubator, along with UNA and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, supports Shoals Shift, the local effort to attract, nurture, and promote the Shoals creative and tech economy. The Shoals Shift program was the focus of the Deshpande Award proposal and the subject of the panel discussion.