By Amit Dhingra, Ph.D., Professor, and Chair, EFA
The nearly three-year-old Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) Program at Washington State University has recently added students, staff, administrative leaders, postdocs and faculty to its ranks as the community continues to grow (https://efa.wsu.edu/efa-members/). The EFA members are a part of an advocacy group dedicated to promoting and supporting innovative initiatives, policies, and practices aimed at improving the lives of our constituents in alignment with WSU’s land-grant mission.
The group was founded in 2016 and has been active since then to build a grassroots community of members inspired by the ideals of the land grant mission. We have also been working to realign the policies at WSU so that a community driven to further the institution’s mission gets the support it needs.
The EFA community is engaged in implementing the recommendations of the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WSU (http://tinyurl.com/yy66nt5b). To foster entrepreneurial and innovative activities on campus, the conflict of interest process has been streamlined (http://tinyurl.com/y55qdfrm) and, an institutional award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to recognize the work done by our colleagues (http://tinyurl.com/y5us42cx). Most importantly, student programs focused on entrepreneurial training are being coordinated through federally funded programs such as NSF I-Corps (https://research.wsu.edu/icorps/).
Last October, the EFA held its inaugural retreat (https://efa.wsu.edu/past-events/), where the community made its first foray into engaging the entire WSU community across all campuses. There were several ideas shared at the inaugural event that focused on enhancing WSU’s infrastructure and processes. The aim of the ideation process was to identify areas of improvement that can enable the WSU community to contribute to the goals of the President’s Drive to 25 mission of achieving preeminence in research and discovery, teaching, and engagement. Regent Heather Redman, Partner, Flying Fish Ventures presented the keynote address at the retreat, and President Kirk Schulz delivered the inaugural address. Both speakers emphasized the need for incorporating entrepreneurial and innovative thinking in research, teaching and external engagement to enhance the University’s societal impact.
The founding members of the EFA program (https://efa.wsu.edu/efa/meet-the-ambassadors/) have assumed a leadership role to help oversee the growth of the innovation and entrepreneurial communities on campuses, and to develop both local community and system-wide events to keep the momentum achieved till date. One such activity is the Science Pub developed in collaboration with the Palouse Discovery Science Center (https://efa.wsu.edu/category/efa-events/).
The EFA program is continually expanding its membership to a larger, more inclusive group of innovators across the WSU system. I would love to hear about your ideas for future EFA events and activities, and how we can contribute to our beloved institution’s progress. Please feel free to drop me an email if you are interested in getting involved.
Contact: Amit Dhingra at firstname.lastname@example.org