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UNM names director of Innovation Academy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Robert DelCampo, newly appointed director of the University of New Mexico’s forthcoming “Innovation Academy,” said UNM is developing a curriculum for its new program that will help bring entrepreneurship “to the masses.”

The academy will offer students from all academic schools an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the world of business development and entrepreneurial innovation. It will officially launch next fall as part of Innovate ABQ, a high-tech research and development site that UNM is developing in partnership with the city, county and business leaders at Central and Broadway Downtown.

DelCampo, who UNM’s Office of Academic Affairs named on Wednesday to head the academy, said his goal is for entrepreneurial innovation to be part of the basic skills all students acquire across campus.

“We want to channel students with business ideas to the Innovate ABQ site, but we want to move beyond the traditional focus on engineering and business school students to include people from all academic sectors,” DelCampo said. “We want to recruit people from all backgrounds with ideas about how to apply technologies in innovative ways in new businesses and in their careers. We want to take all that to the masses and make the learning experience a lot more effective.”

Through the Innovation Academy, students will learn through doing by participating in real-world projects, internships and business pursuits connected to Innovate ABQ. Academy students will live in dorms at the Innovate ABQ site Downtown for immersion and hands-on experience.

“The academy’s learning process will be a three-legged stool to help improve students’ employability and job skills, provide them with experiential learning opportunities, and to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among them,” DelCampo said.

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UNM Chief Economic Development Officer Lisa Kuuttila said the academy has already had a soft launch with “pitch events” since last fall for students with new business ideas to present their proposals to entrepreneurs, and with a couple of courses this semester that will become part of the academy curriculum.

“The first official cohort of academy students will head to the Innovate ABQ site this fall,” Kuuttila said. “We’re also planning some innovation boot camps for students this summer.”

Kuuttila said DelCampo is an ideal choice to head the Academy given his dual experience as an academic, and as a serial entrepreneur.

“We want to marry the academic side of the university with the world of business, and he knows both those worlds very well,” Kuuttila said.

DelCampo is a professor of organizational behavior and a former associate dean at UNM’s Anderson School of Management. He is founder and owner of the business consulting firm RSD Enterprises.

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