Innovation @ Penn GSE

Innovation @ Penn GSE is a space where theory and practice from numerous disciplines and fields intertwine with the goal of driving meaningful, positive educational change. We launch innovative initiatives and academic programs with the potential to push education forward.

Our projects and programs are grounded in practical research generated by Penn GSE faculty and enhanced by local, national and international partnerships with technologists, K-12 educators, investors, nonprofit and for-profit organizations.


Entrepreneurial Programs and Projects

M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship

The M.S. Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship is an accelerated four-semester program built to provide working professionals with the skills and experiences necessary to conceptualize, develop and manage effective 21st-century innovations in education. Designed at the intersection of education, business and entrepreneurship, graduates of this unique program leave with the tools necessary to chart entrepreneurial solutions in education, including creating new schools or other education ventures in the for-profit or not-for-profit sectors. Read more.

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) is designed to catalyze game-changing innovations in both the not-for-profit and for-profit education market. The Competition offers both would-be and established entrepreneurs a forum to test their new ideas, and rewards the winners with a host of benefits including cash prizes and access to a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, and investors. Select contestants also have an opportunity to become Education Design Studio Inc. Fellows. EDSi Fellows participate in an exciting new program that includes seed funding; access to professional expertise and mentoring; a supportive community context; and access to extensive research and practitioner expertise. Together, the EBPC and EDSi create a clear and efficient pathway from inception to adoption for high impact education innovations. Read more.

Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi)

In its continued pursuit to accelerate the rate of innovation in education and connect research to practice, the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education has collaborated with a group of highly regarded education investors to create the Education Design Studio, Inc. EDSi is a hybrid incubator, design studio, seed fund, and social impact company established specifically for education ventures operating across the P-20 spectrum as well as in adult and corporate education. The Design Studio’s explicit and singular focus on education increases the success rate for start-up and early stage ventures through a unique strategic plan which includes connecting research to practice; providing a flexible funding model that accommodates education-specific production cycles; offering opportunities to test startup ideas in actual schools and corporate learning environments; and leveraging the world-class faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Virtual Online Teaching Program

Penn GSE’s certificate in virtual online teaching (VOLT) will develop instructors grounded in educational theory who are expert in their content areas and also adept at harnessing technology to design and implement curricula. Instructors will be prepared to teach in online and blended environments. VOLT is intended as a complement to traditional teacher-education programs and is appropriate for both pre- and in-service educators teaching across the P-20 spectrum. This program will provide rich, hands-on experiences with educational technology in order to integrate this new knowledge with expertise developed in a traditional teacher education program or through classroom experience. Coming Soon.

Athletes Career Change Executive Program

The ACCE program prepares athletes for success in a new career, including education, entrepreneurship, business, science, and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. ACCE provides select, accomplished individuals with the skills and connections to leverage their talents in new entrepreneurial and social opportunities. Coming soon.  


The Innovation Team

Brad Beshara

Director, Business Development

Rachel Ebby-Rosin

Research Associate

Martin Ihrig

Practice Associate Professor

Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan

Executive Director, Academic Innovation & Senior Fellow

Cat McManus

Research Assistant

Leslie Mitts

Director, EDSi

Sarah Qiao

Research Assistant

Joan Romm

Administrative Coordinator

Jennifer Zapf

Director, M.S. Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship Program & Senior Fellow