• Igniting Innovative Teaching & Learning

    Spark Tank!

  • Innovation Grants Challenge

    Submit your Teaching & Learning idea for a chance to win $5,000 to fund your project!

    The Faculty Center for Innovation is pleased to announce Spark Tank! – an innovation grants challenge designed to create community and invigorate faculty teaching and learning at Park University. Teams of 3 (faculty or faculty/student combinations) compete in a live, show-style competition to pitch their innovative teaching and learning ideas for a chance to win a $5,000 prize to fund their project! Three projects will be funded up to $5,000 each. Cross-disciplinary and cross-campus projects are encouraged.


    Teams submit a written proposal by June 1st and - if advanced to final round - 6 teams will present live at a SparkTank event on August 8th, during the Fall Faculty Conference. During the live competition, finalists will have ten minutes to pitch their idea, followed by a 5-10 minute Q&A with the judges and live audience (open to the entire Park academic community). Pitches should be exciting, engaging, concise, and outline the project’s plan for implementation and ability to innovate teaching & learning at Park. Three winning teams each receive up to $5,000 to implement their project during the 2017-2018 academic year and share the results of their project.


    Examples of challenge topics might include (but are not limited to): flipping a class, online practices, self-paced modules, pirate patch, project-based learning, service-learning, gaming, simulation, 3-D printing, virtual reality, etc.

  • Spark Tank Finalists

    The Faculty Center for Innovation (FCI) is pleased to present to you the top, six Spark Tank finalists. Please join FCI in Alumni Hall or via webinar (link provided at a later date) to view the live competition on Tuesday, August 8 at 1:00 p.m., CST.

    Bridging the Classroom to the Profession

    Presented by: Ms. Kristin Shaw, Ms. Emilie Heston, and Ms. Cicely Nguyen

    Behavioral Health Lab: Virtual Reality

    Presented by: Mr. Leon Probasco, Ms. Jill Kujawa, Mr. Wade Abel, and Mr. James Roberson

    SkillPrep: Furthering Students’ Professional Goals through Career Development’s Reach

    Presented by: Ms. Leah Fletcher, Ms. Megan Raney, and Ms. Julie Massana

    Park University Professional Enrichment Courses in Science: Staying Current at Work with Science Badges

    Presented by: Dr. Brian Hoffman, Dr. Donna Howell, and Dr. Alex Silvius

    What Minecraft Can Teach Us about Local Government and Classroom Learning

    Presented by: Dr. Susan Keim, Mr. Zac Jarrard, and Mr. William Graff

    Campus Preparedness Training

    Presented by: Dr. Melanie Smith and Dr. April Haberyan

  • Spark Tank Brainstorming Session

    May 11th (Thurs) from 1:00-2:00pm, CST in Norrington Learning Lab or Zoom

    Join us!

    This is an opportunity to get together to discuss your potential ideas and find collaborators. Please join us onsite or via webinar. Or, if you'd like to collaborate virtually, feel free to check out the collaborative wiki.


    Examples of potential topics include (but are not limited to):

    • purchase a curriculum, 
    • bring in external guest speakers series, 
    • event series to help the university, 
    • create a common reader, 
    • software and hardware purchasing,
    • creation of virtual learning resources, 
    • 3-D printer/cartridge purchase with curriculum or programming to accompany its use, 
    • Google Glass or virtual reality headsets with programming to accompany its use, 
    • telepresence robot, 
    • pilot different video feedback in online courses and measure student satisfaction, 
    • stipend to compensate study pilots and evaluation on new teaching methods
    • redevelopment of 1-2 high enrollment courses to eliminate textbooks/textbook costs with a more innovative means of delivering content.
  • How to Pitch Your Idea

    The Process for Competing in Spark Tank!

    Round 1

    All applications are due June 1st! Teams are judged by an expert panel (including 1 Trustee, 1 representative from academic leadership, 1 student representative, 1 external expert, 1 technology expert, and 1 Center representative). The First round consideration will evaluate written proposals for innovative approach, clarity, feasibility, and impact.

    1. Innovation. Demonstrates a creative or innovative approach to teaching and learning practice in higher education. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an entirely new idea, just new to Park.
    2. Clarity: The project is clearly and concisely explained with a strong rationale to support its implementation and assessment of outcomes.
    3. Feasibility: The project can be realistically achieved during the allotted academic year and within the scope of the proposed budget.
    4. Impact: The project demonstrates relevance, value, and applicability to the Park community with potential for sustained impact.
    Based on judges’ collective scoring, a group of 6 finalists will be selected and move to the second and final round of judging. All applicants will be notified late June.

    Round 2 (Live Competition)

    The judging criteria for the final round will include the above criteria as well as presentation of the pitch. During the live competition, finalists will have ten minutes to pitch their idea, followed by a 5-10 minute Q&A with the judges and live audience. Pitches should be exciting, engaging, concise, and outline the project’s plan for implementation and ability to innovate teaching & learning at Park. The 3 projects earning the most overall points in the scoring guide will be winners of the competition and will be awarded grant funds up to $5,000 per project.

  • How to Use Funding

    Funds can not be used for course release or overtime. Hiring consultants to create material is acceptable.

    No more than 20% can be used as direct compensation to any one person on the three-person spark tank team. If funds are to be used for software/hardware, it should be done in consultation with ITS, to see if faculty can use Park discounts.

  • How to Apply

    To apply, click the link below and complete the online application form. Your application & pitch will require the following (no more than 5 pages double spaced):

    1. Project title
    2. Project description
    3. Rationale and anticipated impact of your project at Park
    4. Goals & objectives
    5. Proposed project evaluation
    6. Detailed budget of resources needed to implement project (including institutional resources - which might require coordination with affected offices / staff ahead of time)
    7. Timeline for implementation & collection of results data
    Note. The following file formats are accepted in JotForm: pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, csv, txt, rtf, html, zip, mp3, wma, mpg, flv, avi, jpg, jpeg, png, gif
  • Thank you for your interest in Spark Tank. Applications were due June 1, 2017.

    This program was inspired by and modeled after A.T. Still University's SparkTank Competition

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