Units & Initiatives

Innovation Training Academies

The Middle School Innovators Academy, the Innovators Design Academy, and the Global Innovation Workshop demonstrate the culture of innovation that ECU is creating on campus and in the community. Through these academies, ECU teaches participants, particularly the younger students, that it values innovation, creative thinking and risk-taking and realizes the integral role of design in successful innovation for economic growth.

Academy students brainstorm and design in a unique learning environment. They discover their own great ideas. They discover their own potential to innovate. In a way, they discover who they are.

The Innovators Academies offer a certificate of completion and cover topics such as practical sketching techniques; 2-D and 3-D digital imaging essentials; physical model building strategies; presentation skills; and marketing and
patent research.

So take a look at the Innovators Academies: what do you see? Young entrepreneurial talent being nurtured. A future workforce being developed. A culture of innovation exploding on campus and in the community and a strong incentive for students to stay in school and productively contribute to North Carolina’s innovation future.

And its talented young participants are learning that innovation, creative thinking and risk-taking is not only valued—it can take them within reach of their dreams!

Middle School Innovators Academy

The Middle School Innovators Academy (MSIA) is a two-week, team-based education workshop for sixth and seventh grade innovators from Pitt, Wake and Edgecombe County Public Schools. Participants are specially selected for the program, which is taught by ECU and NCSU faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. Participants
learn creative ideation skills, practical sketching techniques, 2-D and 3-D digital imaging essentials, physical model building strategies and presentation skills. The students present their creative innovations at a graduation ceremony. The courses take place in ECU’s state-of-the-art Innovation Design Lab, NCSU’s College of Design, and West Edgecombe Middle School. The Academy was developed and is taught by Wayne Godwin, ECU School of Art and Design, Director of the Innovation Design Lab and Percy Hooper, NCSU College of Design, Coordinator for the Product Development and Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Recommended for: 6th and 7th grade innovators from regional school systems

Length: Preparatory sessions 5 weeks (1 after school hour/week) 9 days in summer (4 instructional hours/day). Participating teachers received 3 CEU’s.

Objectives: Team-based education workshop to learn creative ideation and communication skills.

The Innovators Design Academy

Innovators Design Academy focuses on boosting an inventors’ ability to communicate his or her design ideas effectively. The participants learn practical sketching techniques, 2-D and 3-D digital imaging essentials, physical model building strategies and presentation skills. In addition to teaching these valuable idea communication skills,
the end goal is to document the design development of one or more new products created here in the Innovators Academy.

Recommended for: ECU students and faculty from engineering, visual arts and design, business, and other disciplines.

Length: 8 weeks (9 instructional hours/week)

Objectives: Create innovative products for a variety of industries. Enhance an inventor’s ability to communicate innovation design ideas effectively and increase the marketability of the innovation without going through years of industrial design training.

Global Innovation Workshop

The Global Innovation Workshop is a joint teleconferencing-style initiative in partnership with the University of Shandong, China and Faculdade de Jaguariuna, Brazil. The program is a guided experience with lively exchange of ideas in a fun, enjoyable environment. Three teams of six students for a total of 18 students, each of whom should be in their second year of college with an interest in design innovation, focus on innovation and the creative thought process. Sessions are taught in English, and student team representatives from each of the schools are involved. The Workshop uses video conferencing, Centra, email, and text messaging to deliver content and communicate outside of class hours. Participants who successfully complete the Workshop receive a Certificate of Accomplishment in the Creative Design Process.

Recommended for: Students with interest in design innovation.

Length: 4 days (2 instructional hours/day) Offers certificate of completion of course in English.

Objectives: Teach creative problem solving skills and build verbal and visual communications for English as a second language students. Enhance international communications about art and design through partnerships among ECU’s Global Classroom initiative and the University of Shandong, China, and Faculdade de Jaguariuna, Brazil.




Wayne Godwin, Director
Innovation Design Lab