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

Providing the University resources (faculty, students, facilities) at the service and development of local, regional and national maker spirit on a sustainable level.

How does your institution foster maker culture?

  • Development and promotion of a young Maker spirit at the local, state, and regional level
  • Community outreach relevant to Making
  • Development and expansion of Makerspaces
  • Faculty involvement in outreach and mentoring young Makers in national competitions

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

Providing design and maker activities at pre-college outreach levels by using student, faculty and institutional resources.

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

The University has been actively pursuing a summer outreach residential program in STEM areas for 7-8th, 9-10th, and 11-12th graders from middle and high schools throughout Tennessee and surrounding states.

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

They are involved as counselors for the summer pre-college outreach activities on campus and as mentors for high school students in local high schools in large groups that are organized based on engineering major or engineering student societies.

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

Currently using freshman and departmental laboratory and shop facilities.

Preliminary plans for an state-of-art facility are drawn and fund-raising has begun. This space shall be used to support outreach activities, recruitment of STEM students, and engineering undergraduate student activities.

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

Direct recruitment of students by mail and visits to high schools.

Involvement of corporate friends of the College in raising funds and resources to help in promoting pre-college programs.

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

Sponsoring FIRST Robotics competitions in the State of Tennessee, partnerships with many corporate and industrial friends including Alcoa, Boeing, Eastman, TVA, Verizon Wireless and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering.

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

Increase of activities and student participation in Engineers Day, closer collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory facilities in helping middle and high school students, student involvement in STEM high school activities, expansion and improvement of quality of summer outreach activities, faculty involvement in maker culture. 

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

Examples include: Industrial and System Engineering department faculty who are engaged in making better robots for human-robot collaboration, making automated vision systems for better information management in manufacturing, and design of manufacturing systems for Advanced Manufacturing (AM) in our Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering and our Industrial and Systems Engineering departmental laboratories and facilities. The Nuclear Engineering Department faculty is engaged in testing of detectors made in the College of Arts and Sciences Chemistry Department, and College of Engineering Civil Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering departments. Also combining advanced research activity in support of innovative making technologies is the college’s Nuclear Engineering department in development of custom detector architectures using the microelectronic fabrication facility at the University of Tennessee. This high-tech multi-institutional collaboration (Fisk University, Vanderbilt University, Y-12 National Security Complex) involves supporting advanced graduate education relevant to Making.