skip to Main Content

Marquette University Names John Knapp First Executive Director of Innovation Alley

MILWAUKEE — Innovation Alley at Marquette University, a partnership between the College of Business Administration and Opus College of Engineering, reached an important milestone today with the appointment of its first Executive Director. John KnappDirector of External Relations for the College of Business Administration, was appointed to this position, effective May 1.

As Executive Director, Knapp will be responsible for developing a five-year strategic plan to move Innovation Alley from concept to a centralized developer and organizer of programs that develop innovation leaders on campus and within industry.

“I am thrilled that John is taking on this key role as a campus leader and connector to help foster innovation on campus and throughout our business region,” said Paul Jones, Vice President of University Relations and Advocate. general. “John has demonstrated success at Marquette and beyond in driving new initiatives, experiential learning opportunities for students, and developing strong relationships with employers. Additionally, he has a great ability to break down silos, which is important to realizing Innovation Alley’s vision.

Given its unique intercollegiate focus and goal to ultimately serve all colleges on campus, Innovation Alley will live within academic relations with strong strategic oversight provided by the Deans of Business and Engineering.

“While we will certainly miss John’s leadership and enthusiasm within the college, he is absolutely the ideal person to take on this new role to move Innovation Alley forward,” said Tim Hanley, Acting Dean of the College of Business. Administration. “I look forward to working with him to develop and implement a strategic plan for Innovation Alley.”

“I had the opportunity to work closely with John on a new Innovation Alley program, and his ability to connect people and deliver real results will be exciting to watch as we take Innovation Alley from concept to reality,” added Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of Engineering.

“I am humbled and honored to take on the leadership of Innovation Alley and to continue to serve and work closely with my colleagues at the College of Business Administration and Opus College of Engineering,” said Knapp. “While this inaugural role is an important step in advancing the development of this unique initiative, I have already seen throughout my tenure the talent for innovation here at Marquette among our students, faculty and staff. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.

About Innovation Alley

Fully donor funded through the generosity of an alumni couple Chuck and Karen Swoboda and the Fotsch Family Foundation, Innovation Alley develops and manages innovation leadership programs for emerging and emerging leaders on campus and with industry. Innovation Alley’s stated vision is fourfold:

  1. Develop leaders who use their talents in service to and with others, to think creatively, act boldly and create value by tackling the world’s most important challenges.
  2. Challenge conventional thinking on innovation by creating a platform to discover and share new ideas that push boundaries and embrace the Jesuit idea that we are best served by learning how to think, not what to think.
  3. Transform interactions between faculty, students, and industry to promote creative collisions that increase learning while producing more innovative and new solutions to real-world problems.
  4. Changing the face of innovationbecause if we want to solve the world’s problems, we must be more like the world we serve.

Although the original concept of Innovation Alley was a physical facility linking engineering and business schools and providing co-location space for industry, Ropella explains, Innovation Alley is more focused on programs that will help develop leaders. innovation on campus and within industry while producing innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

“One of our goals is to not over-define and structure Innovation Alley in such a way that there’s no more innovation,” Ropella says. “Innovation should always be a little messy, and we want the initiative to create opportunities for us to experiment, fail, and learn more about innovation leadership and how to create cultures. where innovation happens.”

Current Innovation Alley programming includes:

  • “Innovation scrimmages” in technical sales, where teams engage with market-facing professionals to challenge their ideas to help them thrive.
  • The Igniting Insights Seriesa new seven-week virtual professional development experience designed to help emerging talent unlock the mindset and skills needed to lead innovation in their organizations.
  • Opus College of Engineering’s Nationally Recognized Curriculum Extension E-Lead Program to include corporate talent development.
  • M-Teams, a developing concept where multidisciplinary student teams help develop solutions in partnership with corporate and community partners. Unlike applied course projects which may align with the challenges of a specific discipline (e.g. applied sourcing, product design), these challenges are intended to be multidisciplinary in nature.

Additionally, Innovation Alley will focus on engaging industry and creating new opportunities for students who have not previously had access to programs that foster innovative thinking and collaboration.

About John Knapp

Knapp joined Marquette in 2019 as Director of External Relations for the College of Business Administration, where he helped develop and write a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for the college, working closely with the Dean, college executive council and the college. teachers and staff. While there, Knapp was instrumental in helping the college advance many of its key strategic initiatives, including developing a corporate relations strategy with the Dean, leading the efforts of communication from the college and help it obtain its reaccreditation.

Additionally, he managed the Dean’s Office’s engagement with advisory boards, including the College Leadership Council and the College of Business Administration Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Prior to Marquette, Knapp was Director of Employer Relations, Experiential Education and New Initiatives in the President’s Office at Lakeland University in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Previously, he was Principal of Kellett School – Milwaukee, Lakeland’s school for evening and online classes for non-traditional students.

Knapp earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Carleton College, a top liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in Administrative Leadership in Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He is currently a dissertation pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Education from UWM.

Back To Top