Recently a really interesting read crossed the desks of the Think Center staff. An article entitled “Encouraging Creativity and Innovation in Yourself and Your Students” was distributed by Faculty Focus. If you haven’t found this awesome resource yet, please take some time to explore their expansive list of workshops, forums,  and articles.


Encouraging creativity and innovation can be a daunting task and at times can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the semester. So how do we keep things fresh and alive, not only for our students but for ourselves as well? The author, Laura Taddei, outlined five major components to be addressed when facing this task:


  1. Active Learning
  2. Community Building
  3. Collaboration
  4. Risk-Taking
  5. Moving Forward


Five very broad concepts, and at times intimidating to tackle. In the Think Center we were all intrigued by the article and the first question we asked ourselves is “how are WE contributing to the creativity and innovation of campus?” While we do not have the course load of a full-time faculty member, we do have influence directly and indirectly within several classrooms across campus– so are we following this outline of key things to consider?


So what is the Think Center and what we doing? AND more importantly what does that mean to you?


In reference to the 5 components to include while encouraging creativity and innovation, I will give a short run-down of what we have ongoing as well as going into the hopper for this semester.


  1. Active Learning
    • The Think Center is a physical space with the main objective to create active learning spaces for students. We have three full-time staff members who are available to work with students and faculty to explore inquiry-guided learning. Through a Department of Education Title III grant, the Think Center has been created to allow students the opportunity to be co-creators in their knowledge through a unique classroom experience. The space allows fluid movement during class which creates an interactive environment between students and instructor.
  2. Community Building
    • In a space creating interactive opportunities students are able to communicate more one-on-one with each other in small groups while allowing instructors the space to move around the room to give more attention to individual students during group work. Instructors are also able to collaborate with Think Center staff to explore different activities that encourage community within the classroom as well as problem-based learning.
  3. Collaboration
    • In an effort to break down the academic silos existing on campus, the Think Center offers a variety of ways for collaboration. Through Learning Communities, coffee chats, and other interactive workshops faculty members are given the space and opportunity to co-create across disciplines.
  4. Risk-Taking
    • Risk-taking is all about being outside one’s comfort zone. In the Think Center we encourage students and instructors to try new things. We don’t want to only challenge students in the classroom, but also challenge instructors in their approach to the classroom. Don’t let what you did last year or last time create boundaries to what you can do next time. “Thinking outside the box” is a common saying when talking about creativity, we want to know what you can create with that box everyone else is using and reshape how your classroom is setup and how your students think. Mistakes will be made, but we are learning in this process– which allows for more change and growth in the future.
  5. Moving Forward
    • Through the various implementations in the Think Center, we like to think we are moving things forward. In our own way we are supporting the institution through collaboration with faculty and innovation in the classroom. We don’t like to say no in the Think Center and love trying new things. Have an idea for your classroom? Bring it by, we would love to discover how we can make it a reality!


In what ways are you encouraging creativity  and innovation in yourself and your students?


To read the article in full length, click here:



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The Student Think Center is an initiative of the Learning Enhancement Center at The University of Southern Mississippi funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program [Title III Part A] for $1,954,151 over a five year period.

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