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

A maker culture offers all members of the university community opportunity to actualize solutions to problems that originate from academic and business pursuits of interest to students, faculty and staff. The projects that are undertaken may be the result of academic assignments, research programs or individual business pursuits and could take the form of mentoring and counseling or production of models that lead to a deeper understanding of appropriate solutions.

How does your institution foster maker culture?

The university has encouraged students to develop modeled solutions to academic problems and promoted the formation of start-up businesses that utilize universtiy owned intellectual property as their basis.

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

Traditionally this has been in the form of Senior Design Projects within the College of Engineering and School of Technology. These projects are often sponsored by corporations and based on challenge questions provided by the companies. The resulting solution demonstrations have typically relied on on-campus facilities, but have recently begun to include off-campus resources.

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

The majority of the maker programs have involved team assignments to senior design projects assiugned as a part of the course curricula.  

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

Primarily through academic assignments that result in demonstration projects. Individual students and student teams have approached the Office of Economic Development seeking guidance in obtaining maker capabilities. We anticipate that a more formalized student organization will be established by Spring 2015.

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

Student makers engaged in senior design projects have access to 3-D printers, high-performance computing facilities and limited access to laboratory and testing instrumentation. 

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

The university is formalizing a relationship with The Forge Makerspace that will provide the univeristy community with access to a public makerspace. Because this space is located in close proximity to the university campus, it is readily available to students, faculty and staff.

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

We anticipate having a formal relationship with The Forge Makerspace in early 2015 that will provide multiple “floating access” passes to the facility. In addition, the university is engaging a private group, “Gig-G” that is planning to establish gigabyte speed internet connectivity in Greensboro that will include the university campus.  

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

Thus far it has been minimal outside of academic pursuits.

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

In the last 6 months we have established two university-based start-ups that exploit technoligies licensed from the university. One of these start-ups has named a current graduate student as a company officer and is now scaling the licensed technology to prototype status in conjuntion with the university farm facilities. An idependant student group is in the process of commercializing their second application involving social interaction.