High Point University landed a top innovation ranking this year for a reason. Thanks to its approach to curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities, the university is was named by U.S. News and World Report the No. 1 Most Innovative Regional College in the South.
Innovation is in High Point University’s DNA, in part because it understands the true meaning of the word.
What is innovation? Sometimes, it’s implementing something new and relevant to move the world forward in positive ways. Other times, it’s reinventing methods that already exist in a different, value-adding capacity. But no matter what, innovation is about connecting the dots between creativity and pragmatism. Here are five ways HPU models innovation in and out of the classroom, and in doing so, prepares students for the world as it is going to be:
1. Access to Innovators
HPU invites global innovators and thought leaders for students to meet with and discover the art of the possible.
Sometimes, students pitch their business ideas to notable entrepreneurs – like Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone or Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. These innovators listen to the students’ business plans and give valuable feedback.
Other times, students listen to a riveting Q&A between HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein and Gen. Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice. Through these interviews, students get a glimpse inside some of the greatest minds of our time.
When that happens, no longer are these global luminaries super-humans. Rather, they become real people with real words of advice and encouragement for students. The simple lesson learned — I can do it.
2. Promoting a sense of urgency
The world is changing at an alarmingly fast pace. What once took days to complete can now happen at the tap of a button on your smartphone. The world will continue to shed borders as technological advances break the remaining barriers that separate cultures, continents and countries.
That’s why HPU’s academic offerings constantly evolve to meet growth and demand in the marketplace. New programs including physician assistant studies, pharmacy, sales, entrepreneurship, political communication and more were intentionally designed to fill those gaps.
We help students understand that they will face global competition for rewarding career opportunities. Students don’t meet with Career and Professional Development when they are juniors; they meet with them as freshmen. Career advisors help students prepare for the world as it’s going to be, the moment they step foot on campus.
3. Life skills
Students learn life skills from faculty and staff they encounter during their time at HPU.
In Dr. Qubein’s seminars for freshmen and seniors, students gain practical intelligence: fiscal literacy, communication skills, relational capital, energy management, presentation skills and more.
When students visit 1924 Prime – HPU’s on-campus learning lab disguised as a fine-dining restaurant – they are exposed to business and social etiquette, as well as global cultures and cuisines.
Freshmen seek guidance from their Student Success Coach. Coaches also model what it’s like to operate in the innovative, modern workplace — one that is open, transparent and synergetic in nature.
At HPU, students discover how to be relevant. They learn valuable life lessons – lessons that prepare them to thrive in a competitive marketplace.
4. Entrepreneurial mindset
Flexibility, adaptability and embracing failure are among the characteristics of innovators and entrepreneurs. While not every student will start a business, that mentality of an entrepreneurial thinker is an essential trait of future leaders. It’s a growth mindset that says anything is possible for the individual who is willing to work hard enough and smart enough.
However, innovation is not just about inventing a new product or process; it’s about creating relevance and knowing how to communicate – or sell – its value to others. After all, everybody’s in sales.
The Sales Education Center in Cottrell Hall is open to everyone – not just sales majors – and helps students hone their skills before graduation. Regardless of someone’s major or occupation, they will always have to sell themselves to employers, their graduate school of choice, investors, clients and more.
That’s the truth in a world that’s constantly in flux.
5. Values-based education
Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, there is one thing we can count on as a constant in our lives: our values. As Roy E. Disney once said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
Parents spend 18+ years instilling values in their children. It’s not enough to simply talk about values to students; in order for the lesson to permeate through a student’s life, values must be modeled by those around them.
That’s why HPU’s entire team of faculty and staff model values of service, hard work, generosity, gratitude and so many more in their daily interactions with students. It’s why the HPU family contributes more than 100,000 annual hours of volunteer service, and why we proudly proclaim that we are a God, family and country school.
The world we live in is becoming more competitive with each passing day. Being equipped with the proper values in life will transcend any other skill set or qualification. In today’s work force, that edge sets students apart.