Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community (CIE)

Hi. My name is Alexandra Kostakis and I am a professor
of practice here in the EEE department at Whitman. I’m a practicing entrepreneur so I like to
inspire my students into their potential as future entrepreneurs. In addition to teaching a variety of entrepreneurship
classes, I am also an IMPRESS house master, I’m involved in Syracuse University’s Project
Advanced and one of my major responsibilities is being the faculty director of the Creativity,
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Learning Community. Once students are accepted to Syracuse University,
they then go through the housing selection process. During this time, they may choose to live
in one of the 13 learning communities here on campus. Two factors that play into a student’s decision
is number one their major and number two their interests. If students are interested in either creativity,
innovation or entrepreneurship, they may choose the CIE Learning Community. Last year during the dorm selection process,
we have over 120 students choose the CIE Learning Community but we only had 60 spots. Students that are accepted into the CIE Learning
Community live together on floors three and four of the DellPlain dorm. This creates a strong sense of community among
the residents. In addition, we have dedicated RAs and peer
mentors that live amongst the students. Together with the RAs and the peer mentors,
I help come up with activities to help the residents bond. One of our signature activities is the high
elements rope course which takes place in early September. I’m always impressed with some of the students
that overcome their fear of heights but at the end realize what the value of a true team
is. Entrepreneurship manifests itself in so many
different ways across all disciplines. The CIE Learning Community is very diverse. We have students from almost every school
on campus, including VPA, Engineering, Architecture, Biology and Business, to name a few. In addition to the CIE, students are required
to take a one-credit course that is attached to the community. I teach that entrepreneurship is a behavior
that is applicable in every aspect of one’s life. I teach the students opportunity recognition,
creative problem solving, innovation and just basic entrepreneurial thinking. The majority of the class is exercises that
I have the students do to apply the concepts that they are learning. It’s a really fun class that engages the students. In addition to the instructional components
of the class, I also introduce students to the vast resources available here on campus
in case they do get an idea during their college career that they wish to pursue. I also try to inspire them by bringing in
students entrepreneurs to share their stories. Overall, the CIE Community has positive outcomes. The relationships that students form last
their entire four years and beyond. The feeling is that once you’re a part of
the CIE Community, you’re always a part of the CIE Community. The CIE is a really great way to transition
into the Syracuse University community and also introduce the possibilities of entrepreneurship
to these students.

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