Cameron, I think this Joust thing has Legs

Friday was the finals of this year’s Joust.  Although the Joust is sixteen years old, there were plenty of “firsts” at this year’s event.  It was the first time we had an entry from a rocket scientist. Our neighbors from the other side of the hallway came with two new toys: a low cost simulator and a nano-engineered product.  All in all, it was our most tech-intensive finals to date.  And then there was the economics student with an idea for a bra subscription service. She won our first ever audience favorite vote, while the boys with the simulation platform won the minds of the judges.

But the biggest story of this year’s Joust may have been the size of the audience.  We filled BA- 107, the entire atrium, and the Center for Entrepreneurship.  The later two venues saw the event via live streaming.  All in all, more than 450 students saw the Joust for the very first time.  It was our biggest audience by far and BA-1 was bustling .  As I explained to the attendees, success in the Joust requires students to embrace all of the qualities we want them to develop during their time with us: a willingness to get out of their comfort zone, take risks, collaborate with people from different disciplines and use real-time data to make decisions.  You can’t win the Joust or succeed in business without these traits.

Now that you have seen your fellow students in action young Knights, rise up and accept the challenge.  Get an idea, seek out some talented partners  (you know those people you are meeting at all of our events), start something, and visit the Blackstone LaunchPad now. Next year, it is your turn to Joust.

Who won this semester’s failure competition?

Select the winner of this semester’s failure competition by clicking on your favorite below.  Polls close at 5 pm!

A Visit from the Citronaut?

Easter may be over, but Renee Giron (our lead student ambassador this semester) and I will be making visits around BA 1 and BA 2 this week bringing gifts of good news to faculty and staff who were nominated for one of our Dean’s Excellence Awards.

Almost sixty students nominated a faculty or staff member for an award based on an exchange that transformed them, encouraged them to get out of their comfort zone,  take a risk or view the world differently.  These moments form the foundation of our  culture of engagement in the college; one designed to help students develop the qualities necessary to compete in today’s marketplace. To emphasize the importance of these interactions, we will be visiting classes wherever possible to let the faculty or staff member know that their students believe that they are doing meaningful work that impacts the lives of others. We would appreciate it if you would give them a hardy round of applause when we make our announcement.

I can tell you from experience that this kind of acknowledgement from students beats a visit from the Easter Bunny for faculty and staff any day of the week.  I for one, have always found that giant bunny to be a bit terrifying and question its motives in bringing me fattening candy eggs.  Renee. on the other hand, is tiny and like me, genuinely believes in the transformative power of higher education: Making these visits will be affirming for both of us.  Maybe I can even convince her to break out the Citronaut costume for the occasion and start a new tradition. You game Renee?

While Renee and I are visiting classes, members of the Dean’s Advisory Board will be busy reading all of the nominations and selecting winners to be recognized at our awards ceremony on April 16th at 4pm in the Fairwinds Alumni Center.  They will also be giving awards to students who excelled at risk-taking, data-driven decision-making and cross-disciplinary collaboration. It is sure to be a great event.  Hope to see you there.

Failure Competition Finalists

With 117 entries, it was tough to pick four finalists.  Thank you all for getting out of your comfort zone and taking a risk by telling your failure story. Also a big thank you to the section instructors for nominating stories from their sections.

Four finalists have been asked to video tape their story and send me a video link by Friday April 10 at 5 pm:

John Brown, from Section 25 for his story of an international business failure

Logan Braun from Section 51 for a story about a failed interview

Lisa Mazza from Section 11 for a story about failing to say “no”

and Hannah Durham from Section 12 for her failure about the choice of where to go to college.

The videos will run the week of April 13th with the vote scheduled for Friday April 17th.  Good Luck to all of you!

Get Me Some Iron Man

So unless you have been living in a cave, you probably saw the Robert Downey Jr., story where he appeared in character as Tony Stark and presented a young boy with a prosthetic arm created by some UCF engineering students. If you haven’t seen the story, click here.

With the semi-finals of the Joust, our business plan competition, fast approaching (It is this Friday), it occurred to me that Tony Stark would make a great judge for the Joust finals. He is a man who likes to live outside his comfort zone. He is an inventor, risk-taker and data-driven decision-maker. Okay, he needs to work on that whole “collaborate with others” thing, but face it: he’s got four of the five things we would want to see in a UCF entrepreneur. He should have graduated from UCF.

While Tony is here, he could tour the Launch Pad, invest in a few student ventures, see how we are bending the culture at UCF and become an ambassador for all we are doing. I’m not sure that our Joust can match the showmanship in a Tony Stark product launch, but if you give Tiffany a two-week head start, I like our chances of producing something that would meet his expectations. Who knows: the Joust might even serve as the backdrop for a scene in his next movie.

So people, let’s mobilize to get me some Iron Man for the Joust finals. Maybe Toby Crabel knows him and could extend an invite? Maybe a social media campaign with a clever hashtag? (#UCFNeedsIronMan.)   Maybe Grant Heston knows his publicist? We got 50,000 alums, surely someone’s got a connection we can use to get him to the Joust. Doesn’t Disney own Marvel Comics? George can you help us out?

This is the best idea I have had in a while. Besides, it’s the only way I am going to get my wife to this event (she inspired the title to this post) and I’m guessing it will give our efforts to promote entrepreneurship among women on campus a boost as well.

No, I’m not kidding….let’s make this happen.

Hey Career Coaches….

Back in the day, it was common for people to include photos either on or with their resumes.  Some companies required it.  Then came concerns about discrimination: The photos disclose race, gender and to a large extent age.  Add in research which suggests that there is a bias toward attractive people in job selection, and the practice of including a photo with a job application came to a halt.   Yet today, everyone puts their mug on LinkedIn (not to mention Facebook) and see the site as a critical part of their job search and career management strategy.  Should our students photo or not?