Faculty invited to attend ‘Innovation Fridays,’ upcoming ‘Unconference’

Western Carolina University faculty members are invited to participate in a series of off-campus “Innovation Friday” gatherings over the coming months to seek out opportunities for connections and collaborations with other faculty members and to enhance the climate for innovation and research on campus.

The informal events will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at Innovation Station on Depot Street in Dillsboro on these Fridays – Oct. 25, Nov. 22, Jan. 24, Feb. 21, March 20 and April 17.

“Innovation Fridays” was one of the ideas that emerged during fall semester 2018 as a group of WCU’s distinguished professors hosted the university’s first “Unconference,” said Lisa Bloom, a member of the School of Teaching and Learning faculty. The Oxford Dictionary defines “unconference” as “a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants.” The Unconference at WCU was held with goals similar to those set later for Innovation Fridays – to allow faculty members to share interests and make connections across academic disciplines and to discuss ways to boost the culture of innovation and research at WCU, Bloom said.

About 35 faculty members gathered for that first Unconference, and the once-a-month Innovation Friday gatherings commenced afterward with a variety of sponsors from across campus.

The second annual WCU Unconference is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7.

For more information about Innovation Fridays or the upcoming Unconference, contact Bloom at bloom@wcu.edu or 828-227-3288.