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Enhancing Your Major with Innovation Studies

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Image: EEG brain caps in PLU’s Psychology department, used to measure brain activity. Photo, John Froschauer).

November 8, 2017

By Sarah Cornell-Maier.

PLU has a new Innovation Studies program. In fact, I’m a new Innovation minor–one of the first in a growing cohort, scheduled to graduate in May 2019. This series of blog posts is designed to give you the details on the minor, which PLU faculty and regents created in 2017 to help students become creative and entrepreneurial in the world of work–no matter what their major is.

My name is Sarah Cornell-Maier, and I am a junior at Pacific Lutheran University.  I’m a legacy Lute, with two alumni parents and many more in my extended family.  If you look closely you can find my name in a couple different places on campus- I’m the News Editor for The Mast newspaper, and I work in the Athletics department. But what has me pretty excited this month is a new minor that has the potential to transform how we do things here. What is it?

Sarah Cornell-Maier (Class of 2019)

When you hear talk about innovation in the news, the automatic connection that many of us make is to invention or high technology.  However, innovation actually has a broader meaning in some of the leading companies and organizations in the U.S.  I was excited to hear that PLU is leading the conversation about the term among liberal arts colleges with professional schools.

Most modern definitions of innovation all center around one word: forward.  People who are innovative are forward-thinking and forward-moving, and innovative products or ideas are ones that take us forward.  Modern innovation is not confined to business or economics, though. It can be found in every aspect of life, from health care and ethical thought to politics, religion, food production, and the entertainment industry.

PLU’s 20-credit minor is interdisciplinary, with courses from 11 different schools and departments that fit the requirements and round out the minor. Although innovation studies is a great fit for Business and Economics majors (those learning to meet the needs of a competitive marketplace), creativity and entrepreneurial problem solving are key in almost every field, including computing, communications, art, politics, and nursing–just to name a few.

I’m personally a Psychology major, and my Innovation Studies minor will help me to study human creativity and cognition. I hope that it will also help me to pursue ideas that will add value to organizations and, ultimately, to care for people. I believe that Innovation Studies will take my passion for Psychology to the next level.

What do the classes entail and is it a fit for you? Check out the curriculum on this website and see how many of the courses double-dip with your major or the General Education Requirements that you already need to take. You may even find that Innovation Studies can take you forward to a new career and new goals.