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Oklahoma State University
School of Entrepreneurship

Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University

CIE: The Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Learning Community

A Fellowship of Students, Faculty and Staff Dedicated to the Discovery and Celebration of the Creative Potential in All of Us…

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
-M. Gandhi

Creativity: The action and result of imagination and ingenuity; the ability to create through the relation of previously unrelated ideas or things; the application of a person’s mental ability and curiosity to discover something new.

Innovation: The introduction of something new; the development of new processes, methods, devices, products, and services for a useful purpose.

Entrepreneurship: The pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled; the process of creating value through unique resource combinations to exploit opportunity; the implementation of innovation; the utilization of the skill sets, qualities and characteristics inherent in, or acquired by, entrepreneurs.

Why CIE: Our Focus

Diversity is a cornerstone of CIE. Each year, CIE welcomes a widely varied student population from the Spears School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Health Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Our student membership includes a span mix of different genders, ethnicities, majors, family backgrounds, and life experiences.

It is our belief that by exposure of students to this wide variety and depth of entrepreneurial experiences and involved people, we can create a mindset rich in its benefits and enduring in its effect, so that CIE becomes not a one-year-and-out endeavor, but a four-year collegiate journey and life-long experience. In this way, through a philosophy of hands-on participation, leadership, involvement and partnership, we can have a real and measurable influence on innovative and entrepreneurial education at Oklahoma State University and shape a larger model for personal and professional success.

CIE Learning Community Background

Oklahoma State University is a national leader in residence-based learning communities as a conduit for enhancing its students’ social and intellectual growth. The Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community (CIE) was launched at OSU in the Fall of 2009. The focus of the CIE is for students to see themselves as agents of change in the arts and sciences, commercial activities, technology, and also in social engagements. The CIE accomplishes this by creating an environment for, and sustainable model of, student immersion in creative and entrepreneurial endeavors through collaborations, activities and channeling their entrepreneurial potential into all facets of their lives and the greater OSU community throughout each of OSU’s Colleges and Schools.

We want students to be dreamers and doers. By becoming a member of CIE, students are able to live in an environment where they can ‘eat, sleep and breathe’ creativity and entrepreneurship. We seek to create an environment that, both in its physical appearance and the active programming that occurs each and every week, where students can express themselves and act on their innate creative potential. To be in CIE is to celebrate your identity as one who can make a difference, to acknowledge that one does not need to simply accept that conventional ways to doing things are the best ways, and to understand that one learns through active engagement.

The ability to support this kind of environment is made possible by the generous and active support of the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Entrepreneurship, and the Spears School of Business.

Is CIE for YOU … Purposes and Expectations

The Purposes of the CIE Learning Community:

  • Helping individuals from all parts of the campus to discover their own creative, innovative and entrepreneurial potential;
  • Helping students and others understand how creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are critical survival and success tools in today’s job market;
  • Providing tools and techniques for developing more creative, innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to the challenges in any field or discipline;
  • Presenting real-world challenges from the non-profit, for-profit and public sector environments in which students and others can apply creative, innovative and entrepreneurial think and doing;
  • Recognizing excellence in the pursuit of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Exploring leading edge research questions surrounding creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

CIE encourages students to try new things. We celebrate the attempt, and failure is seen as a necessary way in which we learn what does not work and how we might adjust or adapt. We firmly believe not only in dreaming but in doing. Significant emphasis is placed on actually following through on new ideas, and on taking responsibility for implementation. We adopt the motto of our academic sponsor, the EEE Program:

Who is a CIE Student?

CIE is a learning community that focuses on encouraging students to dream, but also to do something about those dreams. Every student is rich in creative, innovative and entrepreneurial potential, but many do not recognize their potential, or are unsure how to channel it and take advantage of it. CIE is about working with others in a variety of contexts to make innovative change happen. We welcome students at every level and in every discipline — from entering freshmen to graduate students, from majors in architecture and philosophy to future teachers. The only requirement is a desire to discover your own creative, innovative and entrepreneurial potential, and to act on that potential.

Students accepted into the CIE learning community are expected to:

  • take a one-credit course (“The Creative You”) each semester;
  • dedicate at least ten hours per week to learning community activities;
  • maintain a personal portfolio of their creations and accomplishments in the community, and present these at the end of the academic year; and
  • apply their creative, innovative potential on a regular basis.

CIE Programs and Activities

Students in the CIE actively participate in a systematic portfolio of programs and are evaluated based on their contributions and performance. This starts in the first week with a complimentary brain functioning evaluation through the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument and ends in the Riata trophy, which is awarded to the highest achieving creativity team at the end of each semester and school year.
This programming is designed to further the important goal of “the residence hall as an incubator for thought and action.” Below is a sampling of elements that are built into the programming for a given semester:

EEE 1010 “Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship I and II”

A one credit/semester each semester course offered through the Spears School of Business is taught in the CIE classroom, during which lecture, interactive exercises and experiential learning are utilized. Generally team-based, the students are focused on creativity in generating ideas and innovation in implementing their ideas.

Mentoring Sessions Weekly scheduled time with the CIE Faculty Advisor and outside entrepreneurs, in which there is a free flow of thought and discussion about students’ entrepreneurial ideas.

Social Entrepreneurship

There is significant engagement of the student creativity teams as part of a long term initiative with the Riata Entrepreneurship Center and the School of Entrepreneurship. Students are involved in a host of activities where they engage the outside community. This has included CIE student exposure to business fundamentals and innovative entrepreneurial engagements through team-based pairing with actual early stage businesses and non-profits, through consulting and through other creative community service initiatives.

Entrepreneurship at the Movies Periodic showing of films with themes of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship preceded and concluded by group discussions led by faculty members.

Social events White water rafting retreat, open house parties and competitions

Ideation Lab Held multiple times a semester, this interactive Lab explores methods for the students to explore and learn new ways to think about, see and implement idea growth and problem-solving opportunities.


The CIE LLC is located on the 4th floor of the Village E Hall. It houses approximately 40 students in a co-ed environment. Each unit is a private bedrooms with ceiling fans and cable TV and wireless internet hookups. There are two large living rooms with 52-inch high def TVs and WiFi, two free laundry rooms, accessible only by room key, two dedicated study rooms and two patios along with a putting green between Halls E and F. Village E Hall is smoke free, alcohol free and has open visitation.

Hannah Harrison and Jackson Hardesty, two students enrolled in Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship II were awarded $500 CIE LLC Scholarships from the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. This award presentation was based on GPA as well as class participation. The students received this scholarship in January and were awarded certificates on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.


The programming within the CIE Learning Community involves the faculty and staff of the School of Entrepreneurship and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Tom Westbrook is the Faculty Advisor of the CIE. He is the Clinical Professor of Creativity and Entrepreneurship for the School of Entrepreneurship.

Students will be exposed to a rich diversity of perspectives on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship from faculty members based in colleges and departments across the campus, and from entrepreneurs from a host of different industries.


Students interested in this learning community must submit the Housing Application required by Office of Residential Life, and specify their interest in the Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Learning Community.

For more information, students can also contact the School of Entrepreneurship at:

  • Bruce Barringer, Ph.D.

    Department Head, Professor and N. Malone Mitchel, Jr. Chair
    School of Entrepreneurship
    Spears School of Business
  • Tom Westbrook, Ph.D. 

    Director of CIE Learning Community
    School of Entrepreneurship
    Spears School of Business

Selected students will receive a letter of acceptance into the CIE Learning Community.