Teaching Strategies for Nourishing Creativity and Innovation


  • Mihai Boicu George Mason University
  • Ioulia Rytikova George Mason University
  • Laura Poms George Mason University
  • Jill Nelson George Mason University
  • Nathalia Peixoto George Mason University
  • Lance Sherry George Mason University
  • Gheorghe Tecuci George Mason Universite




active learning, active learning classrooms, collaborative learning, problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, learning spaces, teaching online,


Creativity and innovation is at the core of the PhD programs, but it is much less present in undergraduate or master programs creating a difficult gap for many students. Moreover, the dynamics of the evolution of the current world is making creativity and innovation a requirement for many jobs. However, large class sizes, density of the material presented, domain complexity and instructor research experience are some of the limiting factors that make difficult to include creativity and innovation training in the undergraduate curriculum. In this lightning talk session, educators with practical experience in preparing undergraduate students for creativity, innovation and research, will present and debate strategies to overcome these challenges in classes of various types (e.g. online vs. in class), levels (introductory vs. specialized electives) and using a diverse spectrum of methods, (including active learning, experiential learning, team-based learning, flipped classroom, project-based learning, competition-based learning, capstone courses, and extra-curriculum activities). The session will continue with a panel discussion about the applicability of such methods in various settings, how to start including such elements in classically taught curriculum, and will answer questions from the audience. Specific case studies from the audience are encouraged and will be discussed. At the end of this session the participants will have a better understanding of available strategies and lessons learned of how to make creativity and innovation integral part of the curriculum.

Author Biographies

Mihai Boicu, George Mason University

Associate Professor, Information Sciences and Technology, Volgenau School of Engineering

**2015 GMU Teacher of Distinction**

Ioulia Rytikova, George Mason University

Associate Professor, Information Sciences and Technology, Volgenau School of Engineering

Laura Poms, George Mason University

Assistant Professor, College of Health & Human Services

Jill Nelson, George Mason University

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volgenau School of Engineering

**2014 GMU Teaching Excellence Award**

Nathalia Peixoto, George Mason University

Associate professor of Bioengineering with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Volgenau School of Engineering

Lance Sherry, George Mason University

Director, Center for Air Transportation Systems Research
Assoc. Professor, System Engineering and Operations Research Dept.

Volgenau School of Engineering

Gheorghe Tecuci, George Mason Universite

Director, Learning Agents Center
Professor, Computer Science Department, Volgenau School of Engineering