Dr. John Bannister Named Stanford d.school Faculty Innovation Fellow Candidate

Bannister for website

Charlotte, N.C./Feb. 9, 2023 – Faculty from 15 institutions of higher learning were selected as candidates for the Faculty Innovation Fellowship at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), one of whom is Johnson C. Smith University’s own Dr. John Bannister.


Bannister, who serves as the director of JCSU’s Center of Innovative Teaching and Learning, was excited to learn about his acceptance as a candidate in the fellowship after attending the d.school’s summer learning studio sessions.

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John Bannister

“The d.school in general is an amazing experience because they simplify what it means to teach, learn and apply learning principals,” he said. “The work they’re doing really helps me align to what I’m doing here, and addresses some of the challenges we and other institutions face along the way.”


In this two-year experience, 18 faculty and staff will work together to design unique projects that enhance the innovation ecosystems at their schools and help students gain vital, real-world skills and mindsets.


These faculty and staff members act as the mentors (called faculty champions) to students taking part in the University Innovation Fellows program. In November 2022, JCSU students Purity Gumede ’25, John Josiah ’24 and Tanaka Mbavarira ’24 were named to the student program.


“Educators in the Faculty Innovation Fellows program are doing this work because they see opportunities to improve their schools and because they believe in the power of change from the bottom up,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “In the last two years since the start of the program, Faculty Innovation Fellows have made great progress on their projects with mentorship and support from their peers. We can’t wait to see what this new cohort of change makers can accomplish!”


Candidates in the program collaborate with one another to learn new change strategies, develop projects, gather feedback on ideas and share resources. Candidates meet regularly in small groups to share the opportunities for change they identify as well as ideas for projects that can make the most impact for students at their schools. Candidates’ propose projects which include funding programs, new majors, new classes, activities that connect the campus and the community and more. 


Bannister said he is most excited to align his office at JCSU with the innovative practices he and the other fellows create.


“As we move forward with implementing our strategic plan, I know that pathways to improving teaching and learning are a part of that,” he said. “Part of what I’m doing is trying to impact and improve the teaching and learning enterprise at Johnson C. Smith University.”


Each member of the program will have the opportunity to publish an article in the University Innovation Fellows journal, Change Forward, detailing their project and their progress. Those who complete the program will be launched as Faculty Innovation Fellows in March 2024.


The candidates in the 2022-2024 Faculty Innovation Fellows program are:
* Ozgun Burcu Rodopman, Bo?aziçi University
* Daniël van Vliet, Erasmus University Rotterdam
* Luise Degen, Hamburg University of Technology
* Svenja Damberg, Hamburg University of Technology
* Christoph Winkler, Iona University
* Seán Ronan McCarthy, James Madison University
* John Bannister, Johnson C. Smith University
* Bahare Afrahi, Kingston University
* Melanie Lewis, Macquarie University
* Laura Jayne Parson, North Dakota State University
* Hallie Ann Neupert, Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech)
* Prashant Atmakuri, Prasad V Potluri Siddhartha Institute of Technology
* Vonda LaKecia Reed, Shaw University
* Terrance McNeil, Tennessee State University
* Carlos Letts, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas
* Maria Pia Felipa Ibarra, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas
* Shirley Vanessa Villanes Borja, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas
* Jeremiah Harrison, Utah Valley University


Learn more about the Faculty Innovation Fellows program online.


About the University Innovation Fellows Program:
The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a global community of young leaders working to ensure that all students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge required to compete in the economy of the future. Fellows create new opportunities that help their peers develop an entrepreneurial mindset, build creative confidence, seize opportunities, define problems, and address global challenges. They are creating student innovation spaces, founding entrepreneurship organizations, hosting experiential events, and working with faculty and administrators to develop courses. They serve as advocates for lasting institutional change with academic leaders and represent their schools at national events. The University Innovation Fellows is a program of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). Learn more at universityinnovationfellows.org.

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