News from the University Innovation Council

Dear UNCW Colleagues,

In just two years, the University Innovation Council has succeeded in promoting a campus culture that approaches challenges with a collaborative spirit and a creative mindset. The UIC’s inventive and effective use of IdeaScale, a crowd-sourcing software, brought diverse viewpoints into campus discussions and offered us all the opportunity to highlight and debate issues important to our community. More than 4,000 users cast over 5,200 votes and posted 813 comments on 94 ideas submitted by UNCW faculty and staff. I am proud of what the UIC has accomplished, and I am grateful to its co-chairs, Provost Denise Battles and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Charlie Maimone, along with a dedicated team of faculty and staff for leading this charge.

So what has the UIC accomplished to date? Initiatives and programs that have emerged from the UIC’s efforts include:

 - The Summer Innovation Task Force, now underway to re-conceive the university calendar to better utilize the full 12 months of the calendar year, as part of a strategy to make the most of the university’s coastal location.
- A pilot program to investigate the costs/benefits of using a social media platform (Facebook) as a medium for promoting summer school.
- Creation of an online repository for undergraduate research.
- Development of a graduate student support plan, now in progress, and a pilot to improve the fee/registration process for graduate students.
- Plans to redevelop the Office of Technology Transfer, which are now underway.

So what’s next? The UIC has developed a new plan to keep our ideas – and the conversations they inspire – flowing. I am very proud to announce WHAT’S OUR IQ?, a new campaign designed to highlight our “IQ” – our innovation quotient ­– in the work we do every day. The premise is a simple one: If we ask ourselves WHAT’S OUR IQ? as we undertake both new and existing tasks, there will inevitably be fresh ideas for how to do things in a newer, bolder, and more efficient way. My hope is that by asking ourselves this question from time to time, we will be inspired to make our daily operations, individually and institutionally, more innovative.

The UIC is also taking a more targeted approach to campus interaction with the community, which includes:

  •  - Time-limited topics on the web portal (60 days versus indefinite)
  •  - The posting of one idea at a time for input (versus several ideas atonce). As the UIC relaunches its forum, the topic will be then re-conceived university calendar.
  •  - An official response from the UIC ­ written in “humanspeak”! – at the close of each topic
  •  - One public pitch session per semester (this semester, it’s October 25 at 2 p.m.; email the UIC to reserve your slot!)
  •  - A new URL:
  •  - A new email inbox so you can easily reach the UIC with questions or feedback:

The UIC wants you to be an even bigger part of this effort by submitting photos of innovation in action to post on the UNCW homepage, the WHATS OUR IQ page and social media. We want to show our community and all who visit our website that innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life on our campus.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the power of ideas and innovation. Your dedication to UNCW’s values makes the journey of learning a richer and more rewarding experience for our students and positions the university to serve as a key partner in the life of our community. Allow me to get us started: WHAT’S OUR IQ? My answer would be that it is on the rise every day. I couldn’t be more proud of the work you all are doing to support that momentum. 

Gary L. Miller
University of North Carolina Wilmington