Ohio University

OHIO's spirit of innovation, engagement key to future success

Published: November 4, 2019 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University has been recognized as one of America’s most innovative universities, as well as being one of the nation’s top universities for student engagement.

OHIO has earned that reputation through a variety of initiatives, ranging from the development of community-engaged research classes, experiential learning initiatives and efforts to create new programs or enhance existing ones for the improvement of Southeast Ohio.

“Ohio University has a rich history of creativity and innovation aimed at improving the educational experience for students, enhancing opportunities for faculty, and providing solutions for the community,” Ohio University Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Brad Cohen said. “As we reimagine higher education, we will continue to pursue innovative solutions to ensure student success so they are prepared to not only succeed in the world’s marketplace, but to thrive and to lead.”

Ohio University led the way in the state with the creation of the Innovation Center, the first university-based business incubator in the state. The Innovation Center has been helping launch new businesses in Athens since 1983 and continues to expand. More recently, the University created the OHIO Honors Program, a new pathway that allows students to pursue their personal interests and academic pursuits while applying their learning in real-world situations. OHIO also launched the CoLab, a space designed to allow innovation and collaboration among students from across the University, and introduced community-engaged research, in which classes are designed in collaboration with community partners.

“Ohio University offers unlimited opportunities for our students to learn new careers while making a difference in the world right away,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “As we reimagine our academic enterprise, the spirit of innovation and engagement will be crucial to ensure we remain on the leading edge of a fundamental shift in the course of higher education.”

GRID Lab motion capture

Other innovations happening at OHIO in recent years include:

  • The GRID Lab is working with colleagues across the campus community to enhance the use of virtual reality, teaching students to use the latest technology to develop a variety of real-world training videos and video games.
  • Ohio University and affiliated startup AEIOU Scientific participated in the 2019 University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase to demonstrate new Cortical Bone Mechanics Technology invented by OHIO faculty members that can be used as a medical device to diagnose osteoporosis.
  • The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Social Enterprise Ecosystem has helped more than 90 startups and small enterprises that are tackling important social changes facing the Appalachian region.
  • Faculty members created the OHIO Museum Complex, expanding on the Kennedy Museum of Art to connect science and the environment to daily life. The museum concept includes galleries, outdoor experiential learning, expanded space to house special collections, and much more.
  • Earlier this year, the University launched the Strategy and Innovation Office to help redefine what it means to be a nationally-recognized, comprehensive public university.
  • The University created the Capital Internship Program to give students the opportunity to intern in key roles in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress or Congressional committees.
  • The Center for Entrepreneurship has hosted new events like the Business of Games Summit (with the GRID Lab) or the Music Industry Summit (with the School of Media Arts and Studies) to introduce participants directly to national and regional industry leaders.
  • OHIO faculty experts John Sabraw and Guy Riefler developed a method to process acid mine drainage from abandoned mines into paint that can be used for artistic purposes.
  • Ohio University was the first in the state to adopt the OHIO Guarantee, a tuition model that ensures incoming freshmen will have a fixed rate of tuition and fees for four years of college.

These and many other examples have helped OHIO earn a reputation as an innovative place for students to discover knowledge in a collaborative learning environment that reaches across disciplines and connects to the needs and interests of the vibrant communities in the region and beyond.