I am a semi-retired Professor of Physics Emeritus at Lawrence University. I continue to pursue an experimental research program in laser spectroscopy, a branch of atomic-molecular-optical physics. In the 1980s and 1990s, I developed a pedagogical "signature program" in laser physics at Lawrence University, the purpose of which was to explore possible experiments, facilities, and equipment that would probably be necessary to support the teaching of laser physics in small institutions. More recently I have become interested in exploring whether innovation can actually be taught — or at least encouraged — among undergraduates. The impetus for this effort was the 2005 NAS commissioned report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" and the America Competes Acts of 2007 and 2010. My physics colleagues and I enjoy NSF funding in support of our investigation of this question. We are concentrating on the use of undergraduate research involvement in ongoing faculty research programs to see whether such venues and activities can be exploited to encourage undergraduates to develop innovative inclinations and behaviors. I also teach the course, "In Pursuit of Innovation," at Lawrence University with an economist colleague, Prof. Adam Galambos; in this course we employ a substantial dose of project creation and development in what seems to be a promising way to incubate innovative tendencies and behaviors among undergraduates.
I believe that it is vitally important to encourage college-age students to embrace innovation so as to become more creative and imaginative, more bold and risk-taking, and to seize initiative.
Promising methods to encourage innovation among undedrgraduates.
TED is a major resource and several of us at Lawrence University are contemplating
the mouting of one or more TEDx conference here in the near future.
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