2022 Shark Tank Open Innovation Funding Recipients Announced

The Shark Tank Open was held virtually on April 7, 2022. Twelve innovative projects were pitched by faculty and staff to an audience and a panel of judges (the sharks) in an effort to receive up to $25,000 in innovation funding.

Educational Innovations at the Minnesota State system office is pleased to share the results of the spring 2022 innovation funding round. Six (6) projects have been selected to receive funding, all are ambitious and diverse, embodying the creativity and inventiveness of Minnesota State.

Educational Innovations extends its congratulations to the following campuses and project recipients:

Experiential Tapestries Project: Interweaving Hispanic Studies and Computer Sciences through Languages and Cultures

Minnesota State University, Mankato – $25,000

The Experiential Tapestries Project will develop a curricular pathway that integrates a new Hispanic Studies minor with the Computer Information Technology major and engage students in experiential learning and internships with partners who work in Spanish-speaking contexts. The goal is to create an integrated academic experience within the two disciplines thereby interweaving the cultural and linguistic heritage of Hispanic/Latinoxa communities into the computing sector beginning in southern Minnesota and expanding to a national level.

Contact: Sarah Kruse

A Model for the Development of Cross-Disciplinary Anti-Racist Education: The Faculty Cohort Approach

Winona State University – $25,000

The goal of this project is to establish an intentional anti-racism culture through course and curricular development across the disciplines at Winona State University. We are proposing the formation of an anti-racism teaching cohort as a means of initiating this effort. The objective of this cohort model is to incentivize, train, and equip faculty to use anti-racist pedagogy in their own teaching, and expand anti-racist curricular content in their various disciplines.

Contact: Patrick Clipsham

Career to College (C2C): Seamless IT Education Transition from CEWD to Degrees

Minneapolis College – $24,495

Minneapolis College Continuing Education & Workforce Development (CEWD) and the School of Information Technology (ITEC ) will partner together to create and deliver non-credit classes that seamlessly align with available Information Technology academic program majors thereby creating a bridge between non-credit and credit based educational options and building necessary pathways for students to engage in education that leads to sustainable careers in the Information Technology (IT) field. Classes created in this innovation will stack into credit-based degree options when the learner is ready and able to participate in more traditional educational experiences. CEWD has the ability to deliver these classes in a variety of formats and pricing structures that are accessible to a broad audience of non-traditional learners. Engagement of ITEC faculty in the development of these classes ensures quality of offerings, continuity of learning outcomes between classes, and the seamless alignment to Minneapolis College ITEC diploma and degree programs.

Contact: Ben Weng

Innovating the Science Classroom for Widespread Engagement

St. Cloud State University – $25,000

This project will create freely available science videos produced by experts in the field with students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The videos will be designed to augment course content across Minnesota State and provide digital and technological equity to students from diverse backgrounds to enhance access, promote academic success, and maximize student engagement.

Contact: Matt Davis

Student Reviews Driving Change in the Online Learning Experience

Lake Superior College – $24,900

This project will gather information about online course design and teaching directly from students, including students of color, international students, and students with disabilities. Trained in course review, students fill out a rubric noting ease of navigation, course tone, and usability. Student feedback will not only guide faculty to create more student-centered and responsive courses, but allow the college to create training videos, targeted faculty development opportunities, and orientation materials for faculty and students. This project will encourage and empower us to be student-centered in an innovative way: asking our own students to help us make the changes they say they need!

Contact: Linda Kingston

Engaging diverse students to boost enrollments and target Equity 2030 goals

Minnesota State University Moorhead – $24,936

This project’s goals are to increase enrollments by engaging target audiences with an Oceanarium featuring a variety of live marine organisms; and to make progress towards our Equity 2030 goals by encouraging transfer of Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) students to Minnesota State University Moorhead due to the higher proportion of BIPOC/Pell eligible/underrepresented first generation students. Paid internships will be available to M State students that meet these criteria to facilitate these goals. Taken together, this unique proposal will benefit two institutions, the regions they serve, and enhance access to higher education for historically underrepresented student populations.

Contact: Brian Wisenden

Learn more

To learn more about all innovation projects funded through Minnesota State Educational Innovations, visit the Innovation Funding Gallery or the ASA Newsletter’s Stories of Innovation Series.

Submit a Pay It Forward Funding application by May 6, 2022! Pay It Forward Funding is available for up to $10,000, and rewards innovators who wish to replicate previously funded innovations from a college or university campus. Learn more.


Contact Stephen Kelly.

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