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UE's Center for Innovation & Change to Expand Reach

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The University of Evansville (UE) has announced an expansion of the Center for Innovation & Change (CIC) to better serve the regional community.

In June 2023, Faculty Director Dr. Derek Jones will transition to the new role of Director of Field Innovation for the Center for Innovation & Change. In addition to designing workshops and professional development opportunities through the CIC, Dr. Jones will work with high schools throughout southeastern Indiana to develop social innovation programs that will equip high school students with the tools they need to improve their communities in innovative and meaningful ways. He will also work with these programs to help students develop projects for the University of Evansville's High School Changemaker Challenge (sponsored by Toyota).

Dr. Jones also plans to build a regional information-sharing network that will give participating students and faculty access to updated research on the science, methods, and ethics of innovation and design, as well as to allow them to share information and support one another in their changemaking journey. Dr. Jones will be regionally operational, but also returning to Evansville once a month to continue support for Evansville-based ChangeLab faculty and K-12 Changemaker teachers.

Dr. Jones is no stranger to the University. He received a BA and BFA from UE in 2003. He served as an officer in the Army after graduating, and then went on to earn an MA in Philosophy from the University of Houston in 2007 and a PhD in Philosophy from Indiana University in 2013. As a member of the UE faculty, he directed the Cognitive Science program from 2013-2023 and served as Faculty Director for the Center for Innovation & Change (CIC) from 2021-2023, helping shape ChangeLab programming through a faculty lens and expanding Design Thinking capacity. His academic interests include the psychology of creativity, skill acquisition, the philosophy of technology, and embodied cognition, and he has published a book and several articles on topics in these areas.

Dr. Jones sees his new role as a practical extension of his previous academic work.

"It's no secret to young people that the world could be quite a bit better than it currently is, but many are uncertain of how to do anything about it. I am excited to have the opportunity, not only to help students throughout our region think critically and creatively about how the world could be better, but also to give them the confidence and the tools they need to enact positive, sustainable change," said Dr. Jones.

"This move allows the University of Evansville to strategically expand what Toyota has made possible for young people in this area through the Changemaker Challenge," said Erin Lewis, Executive Director of the CIC. "No longer will proximity to our office define whether or not a young changemaker can receive support. Dr. Jones will be a bridge between our university and our community, surfacing dozens of students who will find a home at UE, while still supporting our current faculty. We couldn't be more excited about this innovative new era."

K-12 schools interested in talking to Dr. Jones about developing a changemaker pipeline should contact him directly at

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