Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Welcomes Five New Faculty Fellows

New cohort includes faculty from English, journalism, philosophy, psychology and experience industry management disciplines

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has added five faculty to its interdisciplinary cohort of faculty fellows.

This newest group of CIE Faculty Fellows bolsters an interdisciplinary community that is committed to being a resource for the university as it evolves its role in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and regional economic development. They join 24 previously appointed faculty fellows who connect students to Cal Poly’s highly regarded and nationally recognized entrepreneurship program.

“CIE Faculty Fellows have reimagined curricula, crossed disciplines, and pushed the boundaries of what interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education can be,” said Lynn Metcalf, director of the CIE Faculty Fellows program and a professor of entrepreneurship in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. “They are dedicated to creating a culture of proactive and innovative problem-solving students who will thrive in a rapidly changing world and are deeply committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and to strategic research initiatives that create positive economic and social impacts for the region.”

The CIE has fellows from throughout all of Cal Poly’s six colleges; this year’s additions come from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts. These educators incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into coursework, serve as CIE ambassadors within their discipline and help guide motivated students through the different entrepreneurial career paths. This year’s fellows were selected from a pool of applicants based on specific plans to introduce innovative measures into the classroom.

“Entrepreneurship has never been more important to Cal Poly and our region,” said CIE Executive Director John Townsend. “Our students are taking on today’s challenges with the creativity and passion to make a real difference. Our faculty fellows provide the inspiration and insights to make that a reality, whether our students take that entrepreneurial mindset into the workplace or launch their own startup company.”

The latest CIE Faculty Fellows include:

— Deb Donig is an assistant professor of English literature in the College of Liberal Arts. Her research and teaching focuses on ethical technology: technological understanding and practice that is equitable in process and outcome and that strives to serve human values. As a CIE fellow, she will focus on increasing diversity in tech culture and participation in entrepreneurship.

— Kim Lisagor Bisheff, a multimedia journalism lecturer who has taught classes in the College of Liberal Arts since 2004, will tackle the struggle to provide creditable and comprehensive news through her Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship course. She will incorporate ideas from environmental science, political science, computer science and business to inspire products that appeal to a broad population while strengthening the pipeline to CIE’s Hatchery and Accelerator programs.

— Laura Cacciamani, an assistant professor of psychology and child development in the College of Liberal Arts, plans to share how cognitive neuroscience provides insights into entrepreneurs, and how their brains are activated differently as well as their decision-making processes and creative approaches to problem solving. She plans to increase her own knowledge in this area and support psychology students with entrepreneurial interests.

— Andrew Lacanienta, an assistant professor in the Experience Industry Management Department of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, will spearhead the creation of a new Experience Journey program for the CIE portfolio. The program will prompt student innovators to think about live interactions, services, experiences in addition to products. He will also establish class content promoting participation in the CIE programs.

— Zachary Rentz, a lecturer in the College of Liberal Arts’ Philosophy Department, specializes in the ethics of emerging sciences and technologies. He will focus on how abstract and unrelated business concerns, such ethical issues, if undetected and unmitigated, can create significant legal, financial and public relations risks for new businesses.

The 2020-21 fellows join 24 colleagues: Hani Alzraiee, civil and environmental engineering; David Askay, communication studies; Philip Barlow, construction management; Lauren Cooper, mechanical engineering; Enrica Lovaglio Costello, art and design; Bob Crockett, biomedical engineering; Ahmed Deif, industrial technology and packaging; Dale Dolan, electrical engineering; Lorraine Donegan, graphic communication; Mary Glick, journalism; Brian Granger, physics; Christopher Heylman, biomedical engineering; David Janzen, computer science; Bo Liu, bioresource and agriculture; Lynn Metcalf, entrepreneurship; Stern Neill, marketing; Clare Olsen, architecture; Erik Sapper, Western Coating Technology Center, chemistry and biochemistry; Christiane Schroeter, agribusiness; Lynne Slivovsky, computer and electrical engineering; Taryn Stanko, management and human resources; Umut Toker, architecture; Javin Oza, chemistry and biochemistry; and Michael Whitt, biomedical engineering.

For more information on the CIE Faculty Fellows, visit

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The CIE enriches talent and enables the dreams of Cal Poly students, faculty and community businesses across campus and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, go to

Contact: Candice Conti

December 2, 2020

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