Florida International University Changemaker Campus

FIU is Miami’s first and only public research university. We define our institution as a solutions center in the knowledge that our stakeholders have a unique opportunity to lead positive change and address 21st century challenges faced by our local and global communities.

As the country’s largest majority-minority Carnegie Highest Research Activity institution, FIU brings unique assets to the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship education. Our 54,000+ students live at the frontlines of society’s most pressing challenges, from health care and income disparities to climate change and immigration. The movement to empower FIU’s diverse students, faculty, staff, and alumni as global social innovators reflects the institution’s core values, mission, and strategy. FIU was founded on the promise of engaged research and teaching. In the words of our founding President Charles Perry:

We realize that solutions to the problems of pollution, urbanization, and population growth which beset us can only be approached by a consciousness of their relation to the global human environment. It is this consciousness which led to the commitment of Florida International University not only to the traditions of higher education, but also to innovation in response to the changing needs of the citizens of the world.

Now, five decades later, we celebrate the myriad ways FIU delivers on this promise. We eagerly embrace new opportunities to expand our commitment to research and teaching for social innovation and global problem solving.

Global Learning for Global Citizenship

Winner of the 2016 IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus, FIU’s global learning initiative engages the entire university in collaborative efforts to analyze and address complex global problems. Every undergraduate takes at least two global learning courses prior to graduation. The more than 160 courses that fulfill this requirement are complemented by a robust array of co-curricular activities and programs, ranging from a Global Living/Learning Community and the weekly Tuesday Times Roundtable discussion series to a Global Learning Librarian, annual global learning research fellowships, and student-led chapters of organizations such as Amnesty International and GlobeMed. Nearly 1000 students also pursue two integrative learning honors: the Excellence in Global Learning Medallion and Peace Corps Prep Certificate. The program’s success is fueled by extensive professional development for faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student leaders. Advancing the ecosystem for social innovation, FIU has an ambitious curricular goal to embed design thinking and social entrepreneurship concepts into global learning courses and activities, thereby impacting all students.

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StartUP FIU is an initiative focused on developing traditional and social entrepreneurship among students, faculty/staff, alumni and the South Florida community.  It is helping create and promote an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship at FIU, through the creation of new startups, acceleration of early-stage companies, and commercialization of novel, ground-breaking technologies. StartUP FIU will focus its innovation and economic development strategy on bringing the university’s strengths from lab to market and from idea to enterprise – stimulating commercial investment and job growth in the process.

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The Honors College at FIU

The Honors College at FIU will strive to become the premier honors institution in the country, recognized for innovative pedagogy, outstanding undergraduate research, commitment to the arts, and a strong international focus.  A dynamic laboratory of transformative teaching and learning, the College will emphasize intellectual curiosity; community engagement; and multi-disciplinary analysis and problem-solving.  The College will be a vibrant, expanding, enthusiastic and engaged community of scholars, potentially housed and trained in a state-of-the-art building.  Honors students will be mentored to be tomorrow’s leaders through an emphasis on integrity, the love of learning, global citizenship, and excellence in all endeavors.

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Global Social Change and Civic Engagement Mini Grants

The Global Social Change and Civic Engagement student impact investment board is supported by the Center for Leadership and Service and the Office of Global Learning Initiatives. Student-led service projects and social ventures address issues such as public policing, education disparities, environmental degradation, economic inequality, and community beautification. Funded proposals may receive grants up to $1,000.

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Emily Gresham Assistant Vice President of Research

Emily Gresham serves as the Assistant Vice President for Research overseeing the Innovation and Economic Development unit in the Office of Research and Economic Development. She is responsible for leading and coordinating the commercialization, technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities for the University, including identifying and expanding opportunities to grow investment in FIU research and startup activities. Ms. Gresham will also oversee the implementation of some major research initiatives emanating from the FIUBeyondPossible2020 Strategic Plan, including research communications. Ms. Gresham joined FIU in 2012 to oversee development efforts for seven colleges and museums and went on to help facilitate and develop the FIUBeyondPossible2020 Strategic Plan. Prior to joining FIU, she served as the Vice President for Development at The Miami Foundation (2010-2012) and the University of Miami (2002-2010) where she played a leadership role in the Momentum Capital Campaign that raised $1.4 billion. She received a BA from Hunter College in New York City and earned an MBA from the University of Miami.

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Changemaker Campus

Launched in 2008, Ashoka offers the Changemaker Campus designation to leading institutions in social innovation education. These institutions share the vision for higher education to become the next global driver of social change by transforming the educational experience into a world-changing experience.