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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering awards first Abell Innovation Professorship

Paul Skaggs, industrial design program chair for the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University, has received the college's first Abell Innovation Professorship for his talent in fostering creativity.

The objective of the Abell Professorship is to enhance multi-disciplinary innovation education in the Ira A. Fulton College's School of Technology.
“I think there are principles that should be taught to students before they launch off into a project to help them understand innovation and the role it plays,” said Skaggs. “The purpose of this professorship is to help meet the college’s strategic initiative for innovation and build a stronger curriculum for the students around innovation.”
“The Abell family has been strong advocates for broadening the education of engineering and technology students, and this gift will go a long way to achieving that goal,” said Val Hawks, director of the School of Technology.

“Paul has not only worked hard, but done so consistently over several years to teach innovation and to be innovative,” Hawks said. “I am confident his work with the professorship will be a major factor in reaching a new level of innovation education for the students in the School of Technology.”
Since coming to BYU nine years ago, Skaggs has  developed curriculum in structured creativity and innovation, including  a freshman core curriculum class in design thinking and creativity. He helped develop the innovation boot camp and taught the first innovation block class in the School of Technology.
The boot camps began in 2009 as an extra-curricular program designed to prepare students to contribute to the development of new technologies in the 21st century. These camps have evolved into a one-credit block class required by several disciplines. Students enjoy learning about problem finding as well as exploring innovative ideas.
Skaggs’ background in facilitating the creative process has shaped his future plans to make BYU’s School of Technology a leader in innovation education and execution.
With the money awarded, Skaggs said he would like to build BYU’s reputation by “promoting the School of Technology as one of the leading institutions for researching, studying and applying innovation components in education.”

Within the college, he plans to further develop a body of knowledge through the research of literature, making connections with others in similar areas and developing a course workbook showcasing success stories.

Looking outside campus, he plans to generate attention and prestige through high-intensity corporate innovation boot camps and innovation symposiums, workshops and lectures.

Skaggs received his MFA in industrial design from Rochester institute of Technology in 2002 and his undergraduate degree in industrial design from BYU in 1980.

For more information, contact Krista Tripodi, 801-422-3948,

Writer: Melissa Oldham

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