8th Annual Symposium
June 10-12, 2019 in Lowell, Massachusetts

Workshop A – 2019

Workshop A: Developing I-Shaped Students

Additional $75 Fee


  • Judith Cone, Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Sheryl Waddell, Director, Global Innovate Carolina Network

Engaging first-generation college students (FirstGen) in entrepreneurial activities is expanding on many university campuses, especially at the University of New Hampshire. FirstGen is generally defined as the first person in a family to graduate with a four-year bachelor’s degree but even that definition is not universally agreed upon.


Our students are a renewing resource and arguably our greatest resource. About 30,000 are on UNC’s campus every year; most will be out in the world working for more than 40 years—and they are being prepared in a new way.  Conventional wisdom says effective people need “T-shaped” skills, with core strength in a specialty (the vertical) and related cross-functional or cross disciplinary knowledge. But it takes more to lead and succeed in today’s world, so at Carolina we are educating all students to have I-shaped skills. 

  • The vertical core is still deep domain knowledge, developed in majors and minors.
  • The top crossbar is the quality of being a global citizen—competent across cultures as well as across disciplines, able to interact with people from any background and to understand, literally, how the world works. 
  • The base of the “I” stands for innovation skills. This means being able to bring ideas into the world, through the capabilities and mindset of an entrepreneurial thinker.

The workshop leaders will share details on the many steps under way within UNC to build I-shaped skills. These include an increased focus on experiential learning and addressing major real-world needs, and embedding the innovation process throughout the curriculum. New cocurricular programs, such as the makerspaces also support this goal, along with growing efforts for inclusion and global outreach.

Workshop leaders will also provide tools and frameworks to enable workshop participants to incorporate elements of the I-shaped student program into their campuses.