Published 01/18/13

Nationally-recognized Gateway kicks off "Innovation Design Experience for All" Jan. 21

SMITHFIELD, RI -- As part of Bryant University’s “Vision 2020” strategic plan, all freshmen will return to campus Jan. 21 – 23, prior to the start of the Spring 2013 semester, for a new 72-hour immersion experience designed to cultivate crucial teamwork and creative problem-solving skills. In this one-credit course, students will work in teams alongside faculty, alumni, and executive mentors to solve real–world challenges, many of which were identified earlier in the year. The program, Bryant Innovation Design Experience for All (IDEA), builds on the nationally-recognized First-Year Gateway Experience introduced at the University this fall.

“The First-Year Gateway initiative delivers a powerful lesson to our freshman that while theoretical knowledge is important, the ability to apply it to solutions in life, the work place and today’s global society is essential.” Ronald K. Machtley, President

Bryant has a 150-year tradition of education that anticipates the future in a changing world. The University’s innovative academic programs that integrate theory and practice are hallmarks of a Bryant education. The First-Year Gateway is just one facet of University President Ronald K. Machtley administration’s visionary plan for preparing a new generation of students with the knowledge, skills, and qualities of character to succeed in an interconnected world of unlimited global opportunity. This vision positions Bryant as an emerging leader in education.

“Ultimately, our focus is preparing students to use the knowledge they obtain in the classroom for success in real-world situations -- which which is why we are taking a leadership role in innovating and internationalizing the educational experience,” said President Machtley.  “The First-Year Gateway initiative delivers a powerful lesson to our freshman that while theoretical knowledge is important, the ability to apply it to solutions in life, the work place and today’s global society is essential.”

This unique student learning opportunity was developed by a dedicated team of Bryant University faculty and staff led by Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths , vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. J. Thomas Eakin, vice president for student affairs. Special recognition goes to Trustee Professor Michael Roberto, D.B.A., director of Bryant’s Center for Program Innovation. The 13-credit Gateway program was created to establish a foundation of intercultural awareness, ethical reasoning, critical thinking, writing proficiency and information literacy – skills students need for success during their four years at Bryant and beyond. This fall, all freshmen took part in Global Foundations of Character and Leadership, Global Foundations of Organizations and Business, a writing course, and an introduction to literature course.

At the 72-hour IDEA marathon, Bryant’s 746 first-year students will work with faculty, alumni mentors, and corporate executives to cultivate the key skills of teamwork, problem solving, and rapid prototyping. Brian Chapman, head of Global Design and Development at Hasbro Toy Group, will share his expertise with students. At the end of the marathon, student teams who have collaborated as small groups will present their proposals, derived from challenges faced by one of 31 companies and organizations throughout Rhode Island, to be evaluated by alumni judges. Prizes will be awarded to top teams.

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has 3,370 undergraduate students from 27 states and 54 countries. Bryant University regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report , Business Week , Forbes and Barron’s .