EFA to host social hour networking reception on March 30

The Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) will host a social hour networking reception at 5:00 p.m., on Thursday, March 30, at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center. President Kirk Schulz and Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton will kick off the networking session with a welcome, followed by an opportunity for faculty to speak with President Schulz and Chancellor Chilton during the reception.

The social hour will highlight past accomplishments of the EFA and share upcoming activities launching in 2023. The event will also facilitate networking among WSU researchers interested in entrepreneurial opportunities. Membership in EFA is not necessary to attend the social hour.

“We are excited to host the EFA social hour for the WSU Pullman research community. EFA’s mission centers around bringing researchers together to build a community focused on entrepreneurship,” said Reza Safavi, professor in Fine Arts and founding member and co-chair of the EFA. “The EFA social hour will provide researchers an opportunity to build new networks and re-establish existing connections while learning more about the EFA and upcoming events.”

The EFA, which is comprised of faculty with significant experience or interest in translational research and technology commercialization at WSU, was established to recognize and support outstanding initiatives and accomplishments in innovation and entrepreneurship at WSU. Launched in January 2016, the EFA seeks to foster entrepreneurial activities at WSU. The EFA supports innovative faculty who create companies, provide artistic experiences to expanding communities, and find practical applications for research products.

“To fulfill our land-grant mission, WSU must lead in the innovation and dissemination of research and technologies that better our society. The EFA promotes entrepreneurial activities by building connectivity across campus and advocating for policies and practices at WSU that support and enable an entrepreneurial culture that encourages collaboration, creativity, and experimentation to drive growth and progress,” said David Makin, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and founding member and co-chair of the EFA.

In 2017, as a product of the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ERIE) at WSU, the EFA was appointed as a presidential-level task force to develop recommendations for how the university can better support and enable innovation and entrepreneurship.

EFA established the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award, a university-level award designed to recognize entrepreneurial researchers. The 2023 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award was presented to Danh Pham. Other past recipients include Shulin Chen, Joseph Harding, Kimberly Christen, Katrina Mealey, and Juming Tang. EFA also formed a subcommittee to develop tenure and promotion guidelines capable of accommodating innovative approaches to academic career development. The group produced both policy and practice proposals. The policy recommendations were largely adopted by the College of Arts and Sciences and are being considered for system-level changes at WSU. An EFA representative served as an institutional representative in the National Science Foundation funded effort on Promotion and Tenure – Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The EFA representative shared the practice recommendations, which generated interest and led to a high-profile publication containing some of the same conceptual framework for tenure and promotion.

In recent years, the EFA established the Science Pub series in partnership with the Palouse Discovery Science Center. The Science Pub series features WSU faculty presenting their research to a non-technical audience in a public forum. The talks provide an opportunity for WSU faculty to engage with the Pullman community while highlighting cross-disciplinary research with relevance to both society and the economy.

This fall, the EFA will launch a new monthly on-campus networking event. EFA Nights at the Museum will connect faculty colleagues across campus to grow a sense of community within the WSU research enterprise and engage with different areas of WSU’s senior leadership to understand and explore how the administrative offices on campus can support faculty, student, and research engagement.

“The EFA offers a substantial resource for faculty interested in learning more about how to design, develop, fund, and implement efforts to transform research into products and services that benefit the public. We also want to build a sense of community among WSU’s faculty. By hosting the EFA social hour, we are excited to share our past achievements, such as tenure and promotion, as well as raising awareness of upcoming events and opportunities for researchers to get involved,” said Safavi.

EFA was originally supported in part by the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, the Carson College of Business, the College of Veterinary Medicine, WSU Health Sciences Spokane, and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Continued support for the EFA is currently provided by the Office of Research.

RSVP to attend.