Course Development Stipends

For new or existing courses in the Innovation Studies Minor

With the generous support of donors to the Innovation Studies program, the INOV Steering Committee invites all PLU faculty to submit a proposal for a stipend to support the development of a new or existing course in the Innovation Studies minor. Options include teaching a current course (such as Innovation, Ethics, and Society or Innovation Seminar), or developing a new course that can serve as a Principles or Elective class in the program.

At the bottom of this document is a description of the Innovation Studies program and a current course list.


The grant is designed to increase faculty participation in the Innovation Studies program, which will expand the program’s offerings, benefit student learning, and allow departments not currently represented to engage with INOV students, curriculum, and initiatives.

Successful faculty applicants will receive the material support needed to develop and offer courses that match the program’s interdisciplinary learning outcomes.

Grant Details

Three stipends of $2,500​ each will be provided to faculty from any discipline during the Summer term. Consider how creativity and innovation work to advance your field, contribute to the common good, and advance mission-oriented objectives such as vocation, sustainability, justice, diversity, and inclusion.

The most recent recipient of this grant was Justin Eckstein, Professor of Communication, Media, and Design Arts, who created a new section of Innovation, Ethics, and Society during Summer 2024.

Application process and timetable

Rolling application due date​ – Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, with a final deadline of April 15 for Summer work. Please send applications (and any questions) electronically to the Director of Innovation Studies.

Applications should consist of a one- to two-page statement of purpose to include:

  • applicant’s background and interest in Innovation Studies or related disciplines, including Art & Design, Business, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, English, Healthcare, History, Media Studies, the Natural Sciences, and other fields. (All disciplines welcome.)
  • a brief description of the course you hope to develop; note: the course may be an existing class in the program or a new class which is cross-listed with a course in your home department’s unit
  • a proposed schedule for offering the course at least twice in the six sequential academic years beginning in 2024-2025; as part of the process, we’ll have an initial conversation with your chair or dean to determine how to best to fit a new or existing course into your schedule

The Innovation Studies Committee will complete its review of your course proposal within two weeks and reply to you promptly.

Grant Expectations – Stipend recipients are expected to do part-time work on their proposed course development project during the semester or an intensive period of work. A typical summer process would involve part-time design and planning with grant payments in equal parts made to the faculty member during the June, July, and August pay periods.

Grant Completion – Stipend recipients complete their work when a syllabus for the new course is delivered to the INOV program chair. Care should also be taken to include the department chair of the home academic unit, so that the new course can be scheduled within 2-3 semesters after the grant (or sooner). The INOV program chair is happy to support this process and involve deans and the provost as needed. New courses may also involve an EPC proposal process, especially after they have been taught once.

For more information, contact the program director.

Innovation Studies Learning Outcomes

 A helpful way to explore the Innovation Studies minor and appreciate its strengths is to evaluate our learning outcomes. Upon completion of the Innovation Studies minor, students should be able to:

  • Analyze: Identify and evaluate prominent examples of innovation in historic and contemporary contexts;
  • Design: Summarize the essential stages of the design thinking process (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test);
  • Make ethical decisions: Construct an ethical framework to evaluate and critique new innovations;
  • Team: Form a project team and negotiate appropriate roles for each member; articulate why diverse teams are essential for the innovation process;
  • Innovate: Collaborate with peers to research, prepare, and present a strategic plan for a new innovation;

By studying innovation, business, and the emerging global economy, students will be preparing themselves for future employment, study, and creative engagement with PLU’s core mission: to creatively inquire, serve, lead, and care — for other people, for their communities, and for the earth.

Innovation Studies Curriculum

The Innovation Studies minor combines PLU’s unique offerings in the liberal arts and the professional schools, as well as curriculum and programming offered by the Benson Chair in Business and Economic History. Innovation Studies is especially supportive of, and connected to, PLU initiatives that encourage diversity, justice, and sustainability.

How does it work?

Foundation courses in the program build essential skills to understand the process of innovation in historical and ethical contexts, and to learn fundamental concepts in design thinking, community engagement, and entrepreneurship.

A community Makerspace and volunteer opportunities build practical skills and fosters a sense of teamwork, collaboration, and creativity.

The concluding seminar encourages students to work in teams to envision innovative solutions to pressing problems, strategic opportunities, and community concerns.

When students enter the workplace, we hope that they will have a sense of agency and preparation to think creatively, form teams, and collaborate across disciplines and departments. We hope that they will have a renewed sense of vocation and the skills and mindset for social impact.

Required Courses

Students can complete curriculum requirements in any order, and pathways into the minor overlap with many majors and minors on campus. The only requirement is that the Innovation Seminar (INOV 350) may not be taken until the Introduction to Innovation Studies and Innovation Principles coursework is complete.

1) Introduction to Innovation Studies

Four Semester Hours

Students select four credits from the following four courses to receive an introduction to the discipline of Innovation Studies and key themes in the program. Course must be completed before taking the Innovation Seminar.

  • HIST 121 – History in Video Games – AR (4)

Surveys the social and cultural impact of video games in society, including how historical figures and events have been represented in popular games. Combines the study of visual media theories and the creative process with social and political issues in gaming, including ethical behavior, violence, gender, ethnicity, religion, and environmental concerns.

  • HIST 248 – Innovation, Ethics, and Society – SO (4)
  • PHIL 248 – Innovation, Ethics, and Society – PH (4)

Two courses covering a history of innovation, problem solving, and creativity in the global economy, emphasizing the ethical considerations that arise as a result of new products and initiatives, disruptive technologies, globalization, and cultural change. Both courses emphasize clear writing and communication practices, teamwork, and building an ethical vocabulary for business and entrepreneurial activity.

  • HIST 346 – History of Innovation and Technology – SO (4)

Surveys the role of innovation and technology in Western societies from the Industrial Revolution to the computer age. Examines the way that innovative technology has developed over time, and how those changes have affected business and the economies of Europe and the United States. Emphasizes clear writing and communication practices, teamwork, and building an ethical vocabulary for business and entrepreneurial activity.

2) Innovation Principles

Eight Semester Hours

Students select four credits from two of the three Innovation Principles subject areas below to anchor their understanding of innovation in an interdisciplinary framework. Courses must be completed before taking the Innovation Seminar.

Faculty note: The INOV program is currently looking to add new or existing courses to the Innovation Principles area.

Economic principles (4 credits from the following):

  • ECON 101: Principles of Microeconomics

Business principles (4 credits from the following):

  • BUSA 201: Introduction to Business in a Global Environment

Design and Communication principles (4 credits from the following):

  • ARTD 110: Graphic Design 1- An introduction to design through the study of basic techniques, color theory, and composition.
  • COMA 215: Writing in Communication Careers- Introduces students to the fundamental standards and expectations in communication writing.

3) Elective

Four Semester Hours

Select at least one course from the following list of electives for deeper study in the process of innovation, creativity, problem solving, and related proficiencies.

Note: The courses in this list emphasize problem solving and creativity from a disciplinary perspective. Some courses relate to the cognitive processes of innovation or innovation in historical or ethical perspective; others pertain more directly to stages of the innovation process or professional skills considered useful in teams charged with bringing new ideas or products to market.

  • ARTD 202: 3D Design– Develop an understanding in three-dimensional design with an emphasis on spatial awareness, problem-solving, and the many varieties of sculptural form.
  • ARTD 310: Graphic Design 3– Design and execution of printed materials; emphasis on technical procedures and problems in mass communication.
  • BUSA 340: Non-Profit Management– Operating strategies and organizing principles of nonprofit entities; management and leadership challenges unique to the sector such as HRM strategies and accountability mechanisms, working with volunteers, fundraising, ethics, and legal issues.
  • BUSA 358: Entrepreneurship– Intensive study of issues and challenges associated with start-up, growth, and maturation of a new enterprise.
  • COMA 361: Public Relations: Principles and Practices– Introduces the theories, methods, and practice of public relations. Emphasizes technical and analytical skills.
  • DATA 133 [CSCI 133]: Introduction to Computational and Data Science– Introduction to computer programming and problem-solving using real datasets from a variety of domains such as science, business, and the humanities. Introduces the foundations of computational thinking, modeling and simulation, and data visualization.
  • CSCI 144: Introduction to Computer Science– An introduction to computer science including problem solving, algorithm design, object-oriented programming, numerical and non-numerical applications, and use of data files.
  • ENG 323: Writing for Public and Professional Settings– Students working in professional settings analyze the rhetorical demands of their job-related writing.
  • HIST 121: History in Video Games– Surveys the social and cultural impact of video games in society, including how historical figures and events have been represented in popular games.
  • HIST 247: U.S. Capitalism: From Railroads to Netflix– American business and the economy from the rise of big business and labor unions after the American Civil War through the era of globalization. Topics include technological change, business organization, business ethics, and the place of women and minorities in American business society.
  • HIST 248: Innovation, Ethics, and Society- A gateway course that explores the history of innovation, problem solving, and creativity in the global economy, emphasizing design thinking and ethical issues in innovation. (Only available for Elective credit if you took HIST 121 or HIST 346 to fulfill the Introduction to Innovation Studies requirement.)
  • PHIL 225: Business Ethics Application of moral theories and perspectives of relevance to business practices. Examination of underlying values and assumptions in specific business cases involving, e.g., employer-employee relations, advertising, workplace conflict, and environmental and social responsibilities.
  • POLS 345: Government and Public Policy- An integrated approach to the nature of public policy, with emphasis on substantive problems, the development of policy responses by political institutions, and the impacts of policies.
  • PSYC 148: Minds, Brains and Computers, Introduction to Cognitive Science– Offers a broad overview of cognitive science, a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the mind, combining insights from philosophy, neuroscience, math and computer science, linguistics, and experimental psychology.
  • PSYC 448: Cognitive Psychology– The study of human thought. Topics include attention, perception, memory, knowledge and concept formation, language, problem-solving, and reasoning.

4) Innovation Seminar

Four Semester Hours

  • INOV 350 — Innovation Seminar (4)

A hands-on seminar for INOV minors designed to expose students to the conceptual, ethical, and logistic issues involved in developing and presenting an innovative idea, process, product, or campaign. Students will form teams; analyze artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial factors; consider issues such as feasibility and market timing; and then develop and present an “idea proposal” during the semester that will have written and visual components. A final presentation is required.

Offered each Spring term.

Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor.