Education: Innovation Center

JLT Fieldhouse, Inc. Education Plan & Innovation Center

Meeting the Needs and Goals for the Rowan/Salisbury Community:

Presented To You By

Dr. Michael Torrence


The success of today’s youth is largely dependent on education. So much so, that organizations such as ours wish to mentor, lead, usher in the use of mobile tools/technology, and create avenues focused on sustainable innovations. Existing opportunities to extend students glocal (global and local) reach is important not only to their personal development, but also to the economic development of their communities. The development of a productive Innovation Center begins with a digital footprint and strategic approach. Our 4C’s 1) Content, 2) Communication, 3) Community, and 4) Culture, will provide attendees the opportunity to engage with extended experiential learning using 21st century learning spaces, virtual/augmented reality, and hands on mentoring. We have had the discussions to quantify our programs position and now move forward to qualify its future narrative.


Developing rural America is a lynch-pin for our organization. Providing education as an investment into Rowan County, NC is a focal point. Our JLT Innovation Center will focus on education, health and wellness, and workforce development. Utilizing the following community education tracks, our focus of developing young men and women will come to fruition and be long lasting.

Phase I

Teaching Inspiring Planning (TIP)

Developing skills and dispositions associated with team work and individual work ethic is the hallmark of TIP. Through the use of the fundamentals of basketball, the TIP Mentor Program will provide rural students with a baseline understanding they can build upon as they move through the programs. Focusing on the following; healthy choices, active lifestyles, and further developing critical thinking skills associated with sound decision making. We will introduce fundamental behaviors that will assist in navigating everyday life challenges in the age of social media, cyber bullying, and online micro aggression while informing students about netiquette. The healthy lifestyles movement will focus on the importance of kinesthetic learning through play in dyads, tryads, and small group learning communities. As our group understands, basketball serves as a conduit and a way for millions of citizens to express themselves. We will overtly usher in a focus on the fundamentals of the game, the importance of leadership, character, and strength while also introducing and expanding on teamwork, work ethic, goal setting, competitive spirit, and sportsmanship. We know from research that 64% of students who write down their goals actually achieve what they have written.

Phase II

Leading and Empowering Advancement through Perspective (LEAP)

Leadership is one of the most sought after skills institutions and organizations seek in potential candidates. Moreover, soft skill development continues to be a place of note to develop solid human beings who contribute to their local communities. LEAP will provide the consistency that rural students need to empower themselves, advance their mindsets, and change their perspective about the world where they live and play. This content will focus on the “how to” address growing into leadership from where you are and not waiting until an achieved status allows you to “lead.” The support of the post- secondary institutions in and near Rowan County will support in JLT achieving a clear line of opportunities for students to engage with leaders in the community, leaders who are selected to speak, engagement with civic organizations, and provide platforms where students can provide input and share their educational success. Workforce will play a major role in this initiative and will reap the benefits of a more educated, informed, and engage community of employees. The intention is not to simply prepare students for a job, but for a career. Shifting the myopic perspective that is pervasive in our society is a great opportunity.

Phase III

Rise Unique Leaders Evolve (RULE)

As a society we are governed by the rules that keep our communities safe and secure. RULE is a give back campaign associated with community service across multiple counties and multiple organizations. Our students will participate in 5 hours per week of community service during the duration of their participation with JLT Innovation Center. Students, with a faculty leader, will be responsible for roadside clean up, neighborhood health awareness (where they will work with local hospitals to create awareness about available support and emergency contact information), and food drives. This will be one of the opportunities for our participants to come to appreciate what they have and shadow leaders who will guide them toward responsible service to others.

Phase IV

Personal Action Seats Success (PASS)

Completion of the program will culminate with a ceremony where students PASS. PASS will require students to make 3 goals, 3 affirmations, and 3 recommendations about their future. In our one on one meetings with mentees, faculty leaders will prompt students to discuss what they believe they need to work on and toward. The only boundaries a person has are the bounds they place on themselves. The students will take home an Innovation notebook that will provide reminders for them about continuing to develop their personal action plans.

Room Design

Today’s learner is mobile. In the 21st century, content is more accessible than ever. Further, this calls for, where plausible and discipline appropriate, active learning spaces. In case studies and white papers supported by University and Community College alike, it continues to be glaringly obvious of the importance of, what we call, Learning Innovation Space Aesthetic (LISA). LISA allows for the focus to be on the student and the content and removes the “sage on the stage.” The designs will show students that they are important, worthy and truly valuable to the JLT Innovation Center because of our investment in LISA on their behalf. Please see the link here as an example

Invest in our students and they will invest in their education and our communities …

Technology Plan

For purposes of this proposal, implementing a plan to provide technology to every newly enrolled student will be examined through the lens of the JLT Innovations Center Strategic Plan.

Goal 1: Offer effective, flexible, and accessible educational and workforce programs that merge classroom and experiential learning to prepare participants and graduates for the 21st century

Problem – what to do with the student of population that doesn’t have access because of a lack of technology?

Solution – providing each new student with technology such as an iPad, case, and keyboard allows the student to actually access the effective, flexible, and “accessible” programs.  This will allow every student to study, work, write, plan, and submit from where they are rather than where JLT offers.

Goal1: Objective 1: Become one of the nation’s premier innovation centers in experiential and online learning

Problem – An actual lack of access has already been addressed.

Solution – JLT should consider requiring every credential seeking student to enroll in at least one online class per academic year and also successfully complete a computer literacy course for graduation (developmentally appropriate).  The technology provided at enrollment will be used during these courses.  Much of the workplace interaction youth and college attendees will experience will be centered on technology or a virtual presence (face-time, Skype, Goto meeting, etc.).  Providing students with the technology and the instruction necessary will address this objective.


Goal 1: Objective 2: Align educational offerings with local post-secondary education providers and industry to respond to student interests and the Rowan County economic priorities

Problem – identifying what these student interests are and what DC desires of recent graduates.

Solution – surveying high school seniors and college freshman upon entrance and exit of JLT will help keeping changing student’s interests in the cross-hairs of ECD planning and this technology proposal.  Providing free technology with intent to produce savvy graduates entering society in Rowan County is a win-win-win for Rowan, the student, and greater N.C.

Goal 1: Objective 3: Build a student-centered learning environment that develops career-ready, civically engaged individuals and enlightened leaders

Same problem and solutions as outlined in G1:O2

Goal 3: Position JLT to be a trusted partner with business and non-profit leaders, residents, and public officials

Problem – Funding this proposal

Solution – This technology proposal provides a great platform and opportunity for JLT to identify and partner with individual(s) or business(es) to solidify start up funds.  Identifying the right donor(s) that passion aligns with JLT Strategic Plan and this proposal could potentially offset the entire start up costs to begin this program. A partnership on this scale drives home the initiative set for in goal 3 of this proposal.

Goal 3: Objective 1: Increase the JLT’s focus on equity, social justice, and equality for Rowan County and North Carolina residents in today’s changing society

Problem – leveling the digital literacy and mastery playing field in N.C. and beyond

Solution – by providing all enrolled students with the right technology paired with a clear path mastering the technology and beyond, true strides are taken to ensure that all JLT graduates leave with the same skill set.

Goal 3: Objective 2: Establish strong bilateral relationships with government, business, non-profit, and private employers

Same problem and solution as described under goal 1

Goal 3: Objective 3: Raise philanthropic giving goals as part of an effort to diversify revenue sources

Same problem and solution as described under goal 1

Goal 4: Increase nationally recognized research, scholarship, and creative activities

Problem – can students really conduct research, scholarship, and creative activities without the necessary technology to accomplish said objectives? How can a student spend hours on digital dissertations after the campus computer lab closes and the student doesn’t have access to a web capable device?

Solution – Providing student’s research ready technology ensures no barriers exit from accomplishing this goal.

Goal 4: Objective 2: Expand research and scholarship in targeted disciplines to answer pressing urban issues of the 21st century

Same answer as described under Goal 4

Goal 5: Objective 1: Recruit and employ strong and effective executives, managers, faculty, and staff who act in a fair, ethical, and transparent fashion

Problem – identifying faculty and other employees/stakeholders to buy into this initiate is critical.

Solution – We propose JLT identify the critical faculty across learning methodology (how to teach), pedagogy (children), and andragogy (adults) for program buy-in.  If these faculty leaders agree to teach two consecutive years of courses incorporating the technology into learning objectives on their syllabus, that faculty leader will be given that same technology to keep upon completion of the two year agreement.  This will drive faculty interest in the program by providing the right incentive to see that program succeed.  Faculty leaders that choose to participate in the program will have their course designation marked with a “T” so that students know the technology will be used throughout the class with learning objectives focused on the technology itself.

Other industry, business, and post-secondary personnel identified as critical to the adoption and success of this program will also be afforded the same opportunity to keep the technology after serving two years on this initiative.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Dr. Michael Torrence
Motlow State Community College