Unique UNM program aims to teach students about innovation, creativity

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) –  A new program at the University of New Mexico is drawing students from all majors. It’s called the Innovation Academy and it’s part of a larger movement here in the Duke City. The program is all about hands-on learning, giving students the skills they need to be successful in the business-world no matter what profession they choose.

One University of New Mexico program is teaching students unique skills they may not normally get in class.

“We’re learning stuff that I couldn’t get in the classroom.”

When Freshman Kyle Guin heard about a new program at UNM, he knew right away he wanted in. A few weeks into his first semester and, already, Guin says it was the right move.

“I spend two and a half hours there every day and I absolutely love it,” said Guin.

Guin’s talking about the Innovation Academy program.

“The resource for students, students of all ages who want to know about entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation,” explained Innovation Academy Director Robert DelCampo.

DelCampo says the academy is part of a growing movement in Albuquerque.

“To fundamentally try to change the economic structure of the City of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico,” said DelCampo.

Leaders at UNM say the Innovation Academy is the academic counterpart to the entrepreneurial partnership, Innovate ABQ.

“Innovate ABQ and Innovation Academy are married, yet we have some distinct identity. Innovate ABQ will certainly be successful, but even if it weren’t going to happen, Innovation Academy is an important academic program for us,” DelCampo explained.

Facts about the academy:

  • It began in March of 2015
  • 72 classes are on the books
  • 1,400 students are enrolled in the academy
  • 96 faculty members are involved

DelCampo says the curriculum looks a lot like other similar programs at universities around the country but with a twist.

“It’s across all majors and the interdisciplinary focus that we have makes it completely unique and new,” DelCampo said. “You might be a dance major but you need to know about being an entrepreneur because you’re likely going to be a contractor.”

Students say that makes the academy even more appealing.

“Great things can happen when people from different disciplines come together and are able to make something move from the classroom to reality,” said DelCampo.

Guin says that’s a big part of why he signed up, to turn theories and ideas into realities.

“We’ve all had a really cool idea we’d like to make see happen, like a business idea or something, and I feel like the Innovation Academy is going to give us those tools to actually make that happen and I’m super excited about that,” Guin explained.

DelCampo says he hopes students will one day be able to sign up for an Innovation Academy major.

For more information about Innovation Academy classes, click here.

The Innovation Academy will host a former Disney Imagineer on September 10 in their Architecture Lecture Hall, Room 101. It’s set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

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