As an institution, how would you define 'maker culture'?

On our campus, maker culture is defined as an ethos whereby we encourage students’ efforts in innovation and creativity. It includes, but is not limited to, physical spaces, but the focus is much more broad. We are building a broad campus initiative on innovation, creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

How does your institution foster maker culture?

We are creating a maker “ecosystem” to offer students a variety of ways to access maker spaces. We’re trying to create a range of entry points based on students’ needs and abilities to best serve student (and faculty demand).

How are you approaching maker education with your current or future curricula?

We have developed general education coursework that uses our maker spaces. We also have significant upper division coursework in engineering and indusrial design that also use maker spaces. Further, we have venture creation/entrepreneurship classes that also access the maker spaces.

What are the key programs, initiatives or classes that support the development of maker skills?

Engineering and Industrial Design are the lead programs in the development of maker skills. We also have General Education coursework that is providing broad access to maker skills.

How are your students involved in making? Are there maker groups or organizations on campus organized by students?

Students are largely involved through their coursework. Maker-related student groups are in the nascent stages on our campus.

Give a snapshot overview of the primary facilities, technologies and tools that campus makers have or will have access to?

We have a networked set of maker spaces. The entry-level spaces have basic 3-D printers and a laser cutter. The more advanced spaces have complete shops, along with higher-end 3-D printers and plasma/laser cutters. The more advanced spaces also have technical support personnel available to assist faculty and students.

How does your school engage with the maker community at large?

We are networking with the maker community both locally and regionally. We are trying to build collaborations in particular with groups in Northern Virginia.

What partnerships (informal or formal) do you have with makers and/or community organizations outside of campus?

We don’t yet have any formal partnerships, but we are in discussions with various groups.

What has been the impact of maker culture on your campus?

The impact to date has been small, but it is growing. The involvement of General Education students has made a big difference, and the university administration has included maker spaces as a target in an upcoming fundraising effort. The maker culture is also supporting our increased emphasis on innovation, creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

The furniture for a public maker space was actually designed and constructed by a group of students.

JMU 3-Space classroom – a maker space for General Education students

We are currently in the process of renovating space for our Engineering program which will include a significant maker space.