New options for producing innovative graduates

By Nick Carne

South Australia’s universities are getting increasingly innovative about teaching innovation.

Flinders University and University of South Australia are introducing new programs this year to give students the chance to add transferable skills around business, strategy, enterprise and entrepreneurship to their chosen degree, while the University of Adelaide is adding a new course to its free online AdelaideX program.

The Flinders University Innovation and Enterprise Program includes three new degrees and nine elective topics that can be incorporated into a variety of existing courses, or even taken as standalone subjects by the business community. They cover everything from social entrepreneurship and product innovation, to how to pitch ideas or use new funding approaches such as crowdfunding.

The program has been developed in collaboration with the Fox School of Business in the US, and Fox academics will come to Adelaide during the year to deliver specialist lectures.

“My vision is of a world where every individual is empowered to create their own future and to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to positively influence how we live, work and learn in the 21st century,” said the Program Director, Associate Professor Margaret Ledwith. “To do this, we need to embrace creative thinking, innovation, personal enterprise and entrepreneurship in our personal and professional lives – both in the education sector in South Australia and in the community.”

One of the new Flinders University degrees – the Bachelor of Letters (Innovation and Enterprise) – can be taken alongside another degree, or completed in one year after a student graduates.

The University of South Australia has taken a similar approach with its new Bachelor of Innovation (Honours), which can be taken in a single year by graduates from any area of study. In addition to receiving the Honours degree, they will be identified as Vice Chancellor’s Innovation Fellows.

University of South Australia Industry Professor Business Studies, Professor David Paterson, said the degree had been co-designed with leading organisations from across the public, private and civil society sectors, “with the majority of the learning coming from real world experiences on ‘grand innovation challenges’, co-delivered with industry experts”.

“Some of the State’s leading innovators are also offering to teach into the degree, wanting to play their part in developing the next generation of change makers,” he said.

The University of Adelaide’s new course in Entrepreneurial Opportunities will be available to a global audience from September via AdelaideX, which is part of the international edX network.

Professor Noel Lindsay, who recently was appointed the first dedicated Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) at an Australian university, says a range of new options also is being developed for inclusion in undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including entrepreneurship, commercialisation, competitiveness and technology management.