Some TTU graduates in the near future won’t have to spend as much time polishing their resumes; they’ll be busy creating the jobs that inspire them.

The Volpe Library third floor is on the verge of becoming home to an innovation and discovery center that will change the way our university prepares and teaches students. We don’t have a name for it yet, but the goal is set: Create an open space that focuses on innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship. When you are there, your role won’t be confined by student, faculty or staff status. You can choose to be an innovator, inventor, entrepreneur, collaborator, mentor or partner.

It’s an ambitious plan, but this change represents how our campus culture is changing and is supposed to change. No matter what your major, department or college, using this space can invigorate your experience at TTU.

I encourage you to visit to see one way this type of space can evolve. The University of Texas, Arlington’s CXI Space is also a great example. I expect our space to be similar: ambitious, transformative and at first, unfamiliar.

Our plans include a virtual reality cave, a research and development lab, flexible team space, lab space and classroom space, along with design and fabrication stations with equipment including 3-D printers.

With this project, the College of Business and the College of Engineering are creating a model for cross-disciplinary collaboration. The BusinessMedia Center will have a presence in the space working with a lab where R&D professional researchers will work alongside undergraduate students.

For more details on this project, I encourage you to look at this FAQ. We know that this will give our graduates a competitive advantage in the job market, but our goal is to have more students creating jobs for themselves and others.

This project aligns itself with Flight Plan’s four focus areas. For example, it improves the undergraduate experience by giving students guidance in innovation and entrepreneurship. again recently ranked Tennessee Tech #1 among all universities in Tennessee for return on investment with an annual ROI of 8.4 percent and 20-year net return of more than $350,000! This project can raise that ROI and create a distinctive type of graduate that no one else in the state can claim. I look forward to the day when Tennessee Tech actually produces fewer graduates who need a job by graduating more who create jobs for themselves and others.

Go Eagles!


The video above was taken from an interview with Arden Bement, former National Science Foundation director, when he was on campus for the College of Engineering’s annual Wallace S. Prescott & James Seay Brown Distinguished Lecture Series. He was asked about where innovation comes from and how it can be inspired.

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