Lab would prepare students for next generation of jobs
The Innovation Lab would have equipment such as 3-D printers.
Plans are in the works to create an Innovation Lab at Binghamton University, thanks to Barry A. Goodman ’79, whose vision for the lab and philanthropic support are bringing the project to life. Barry and his wife, Alison, have been dedicated donors to Binghamton.
The idea is to create a creative laboratory on campus where students and faculty from multiple departments and disciplines can come together and work with industry partners to brainstorm, conduct research, and develop new products and services that have market potential. They would address questions including: "How do we leverage the interdisciplinary skill sets of our students to create comprehensive solutions for the economy’s greatest challenges?" "What are the next generation of transformative industries and how can our students play a role in their development?" "How do we best position our students for the next generation of jobs?"
"We need to think about how we can create jobs, create industries and create products beyond creating efficiencies that create job destruction," said Goodman, co-CEO of Millburn Ridgefield Corp, an investment management services company. "What we’re trying to do here is better align the University’s educational process with what I think are going to be the demands of the future for our students."
Fundraising is underway to provide additional support for the project, with a goal of renovating space to create the lab in the near future. The Innovation Lab would be co-located with the Zurack Family High-Technology Collaboration Center in the Glenn G. Bartle Library.
"This space would place Binghamton at the forefront of student innovation. There are few schools that have anything remotely like this," President Harvey Stenger said.
The lab would bridge the disciplines from arts and sciences to management and engineering, and draw on the work of all five of the University’s Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence: Citizenship, Rights and Cultural Belonging; Health Sciences; Material and Visual Worlds; Smart Energy; and Sustainable Communities.
A suite of rooms would be arranged to create an open environment that encourages student collaboration and blue-sky thinking. The rooms would be equipped with technologies and materials that inspire and support the creative process — from molding clay and sculpting materials to cutting-edge computing programs with business and analytic software. Other resources would include rapid prototyping equipment such as 3-D printers and welding equipment; basic chemistry, biology and electronics labs; and space to meet with and learn from experienced advisors including faculty, alumni and invited business leaders.
"When I recruit people, I want people who can work together in teams, who cross disciplines," Goodman said. "This will provide students with the opportunity to collaborate at a level they’re not used to. Students will walk away with some unbelievable experiences. Faculty will have access to new and exciting approaches to education."