W.A. Franke Honors College Forges Partnerships with Nationally Recognized Industry Leaders, Creative Machines and Core Spaces

Feb. 26, 2024

This collaboration, which pairs academia and the professional sector, aims to radically transform students’ learning through hands-on, real-world experience.

view facing outside of a window with metal cactus installment, words W.A. Franke Honors College in metal writing on outside of building

In fall 2023, The University of Arizona’s W.A. Franke Honors College announced the launch of a cutting edge, dual-degree program inspired by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS)—the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII). A well-established and future facing degree program which put down roots at UTS in 2014, the BCII has since become an award-winning and internationally recognized program, designed to equip students to tackle some of society’s most unique and pressing challenges. The first degree of its kind in the United States, UArizona’s BCII courses have been well underway since its inception at Franke in August. 

A defining element of the BCII is the integration of industry partnerships into the course curriculum. Students gain invaluable insight into the partners' work and creative processes, and in turn get to address a challenge presented by the partner and pitch their take on a solution. 

Creative Machines and Core Spaces are both pioneers in their respective industries, with artistry and innovation deeply embedded in their business model and philosophy. They are teaming up with the W.A. Franke Honors College to engage students this spring in the second course of the BCII offered this semester, Creative Practice & Methods. 

“I love working with students because they are the future,” said Joseph O’Connell, Founder, President & Artistic Director of Tucson-based Creative Machines, “I think we can provide assurance that a lot of the creativity tools they are learning are things that we use regularly in our practice.” 

Creative Machines, the Spring 2024 BCII Methods Partner, is a multidisciplinary design and fabrication firm specializing in the engineering and construction of engaging objects and experiences for public spaces, business enterprises, museums, and learning centers. They will be conducting live-sessions for Franke Honors students, introducing them to their work, creative framework, and engaging them in applying key methods to address a selected challenge that the course, Creative Practice & Methods, will center around. 

The challenge? Redefining the future of student living—and more specifically, how to build a community within a community. 

When it comes to student living, Franke Honors couldn't have found a better Challenge Partner than Core Spaces, recognized nationwide for their high-quality, student-focused residential properties. In Tucson, they manage four student housing communities: Hub Tucson Speedway, oLiv Tucson, Hub Park Avenue and Hub Tucson First. They are also developers of Hub Tucson and Urbane.  

As the Challenge Partner, Core Spaces will play a crucial role in providing students with direct access to their local communities and residential spaces, as well as giving them a front row seat to their business operations.  

“It’s important for the ‘professional world’ to look in the mirror and ask ourselves “how can we do better?”” said Mitch Dalton, Sr. Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer at Core Spaces.  “So much of our business is rooted in data that is looking back, even if in the short term.  What is exciting in partnering with Franke Honors and Creative Machines is the chance to look forward, to inspire and get inspired.” 

"Our culture of innovation is rooted in connecting with customers to understand their needs. This partnership provides a win-win situation that will result in a better customer and team member experience not only in Tucson, but communities across our student housing portfolio" said Richie Lasek, Director of Innovation at Core Spaces.

At its core, the BCII encourages ways of thinking that push beyond what is established. Stepping into the classroom, you might overhear a faculty ask—does this idea exist already? And if it does, students are encouraged to think of totally novel solutions.  

“This out-of-the-box thinking is exactly what our partners value,” said Dr. Caitlyn Hall, Compton Chair for Creative Intelligence and Innovation and Assistant Professor of Practice at the W.A. Franke Honors College. “They are not just receiving theoretical solutions but are engaging with minds eager to challenge the status quo and drive tangible change.”  

The synergy between Franke Honors students, Creative Machines, and Core Spaces will not only give students a profound insight into the everyday challenges and complexities that these industry leaders face, but also lend the partners an opportunity to learn from the University of Arizona’s top scholars and student leaders. 

“We are creating a symbiotic relationship where our partners benefit from fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, while our students gain access to mentorship, resources, and hands-on projects that will shape their future success," said Derick Maggard, partnerships director for the BCII. 

Learn more about the BCII at the W.A. Franke Honors College