Unique Bachelor of Innovation program keeps growing

Feb. 15, 2016

Halle Thornton
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UCCS is the only university to offer the Bachelor of Innovation program, and it continues to grow.

The program, started in the fall of 2007, is a group of degrees that look to put students at the intersection of two or more fields to help create innovation, according to their website.

Terrance Boult, El Pomar Endowed Chair of Innovation and Security at UCCS and professor of computer science, explained that the program started with 31 enrolled students, eight of which were in business and 23 in engineering.

Boult said there are now around 390 official BI majors currently enrolled, and 1,200 students are in BI classes.

Boult came to the university to develop and launch the program.

“I came to UCCS in 2003 with a, then secret, plan, to develop the BI,” Boult said. “The first few years I operated in ‘stealth mode’ where I worked to show that UCCS students had the ability to do what was needed in the innovation core.”

Boult designed the core courses and the overall program, and, in the early years, taught all of the courses.

“Eventually we were able to hire faculty and have been extremely lucky to hire amazing faculty and instructors.”

Boult now teaches two to three BI courses in addition to his computer science courses.

Since 2007, the program has added majors in the College of Education and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“The innovation core provides unique courses that help students learn the process of transforming ideas into impact – which is how we define innovation. The courses are team-taught and bring multiple viewpoints and expertise into the class,” said Boult.

Boult also explained that the program brings in people from the community to co-teach courses, adding another dimension of realism as well as unique networking potential.

“The cross-disciplinary core of the BI gives students choices to add depth in complementary skills areas. The BI innovation core courses do all this while covering the majority of the compass curriculum requirements.”

Boult said the innovation core courses are fun and engaging.

“Engaged students learn better and retain more, especially for the ‘soft skills’ needed for effective teaming and innovation,” he said. “The hands-on projects give students skills, experience and confidence while also providing them stories that are very impressive during interviews.”

Boult explained that the program gives students the opportunity to apply some of the major material in real problems long before they graduate.

The innovation core courses are team-based and real-world oriented. The program follows a non-uniform grading system and gives students the ability to fire their team members.

“At the content level, there is unique content in writing including writing proposals for real money, as well as the study of business law and intellectual property,” said Boult.

“If you are student thinking about the BI, talk to a BI student, then join us and start making your own impact,” Boult said.