West Houston Institute

West Houston Institute

An innovation of Houston Community College

Introducing the most forward thinking educational concept. Introducing the future. Introducing West Houston Institute, an innovation of Houston Community College. West Houston Institute is bold. It is imaginative. It is redefining learning spaces and the pathways to authentic student learning. It is the future — both in its design and its programs. 21st century students learn differently, and education needs to change in response. West Houston Institute takes the most foundational educational concepts and rethinks them. It puts the student not on a flat learning plane in the center, but on an immersive, elevated platform to see, experience, collaborate, create and learn.

Reinventing the Future


Reinventing the Future

Introducing the most forward thinking educational concept. Introducing the future. Reinventing the Future

Redefining Higher Education


Redefining Higher Education

West Houston Institute is a truly unique facility that serves our students and our faculty in new and different ways. Redefining Higher Education

Our unique facility combines previously disparate elements into a holistic innovation center. In this interactive and interconnected learning environment, the constituent parts operate both independently and together, in a space that facilitates collaboration and co-creation.

The Institute effectively harnesses the power of diverse perspectives to achieve innovative learning solutions. It takes a quantum leap forward to impact how teachers educate, becoming the incubator for changing the future.

Beginning in 2011, we engaged with some of the most distinguished innovation leaders in the nation to gather insights about the current and future state of higher education. Based on those conversations, we then developed 
the theoretical and operational framework for West Houston Institute; the first facility of its kind to integrate many critical components for innovation in a single space.

Each space in the Institute is equipped with emerging technologies and tools that support innovation, collaborative teaching and project-based learning. We prepare our students for success in 21st century work environments.

The Collaboratorium
The Collaboratorium is our group-oriented solution design center. We created an interactive problem-solving environment where teams, guided by our expert facilitators, can work together to generate innovative solutions to their critical challenges. Breakthrough ideas and insights require new ways of thinking and working together. In the Collaboratorium, our trained facilitators guide teams through a systematic process to harness the power of diverse perspectives, foster active collaboration, and produce creative ideas. The outcome: actionable, innovative solutions to the most complex problems. This purposefully designed space offers an array of settings to support collaboration and innovative thinking. The flexible elements include large spaces where an entire group can converge and work together, smaller more intimate spaces where subgroups can break out and focus independently, and an informal innovation lounge. The entire space utilizes state-of-the-art technology to enhance the collaborative process, capped off by a 20-foot interactive touch-wall hosting a cloud-based visual collaboration system. Teams’ work can be captured and stored digitally, available for access anywhere.

The Makerspace
The MakerSpace is a technology-equipped, collaborative space designed specifically to facilitate creativity, providing the necessary tools for actualizing breakthrough ideas. Utilizing the guidance and best practices from leaders such as Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), MIT’s FabLab and Houston-based TXRX, this center was crafted to inspire exploration, skill development, and entrepreneurial thinking. 
The main elements include:

  • 3D Printing
  • Electronics
  • Laser Cutting
  • CNC Machining
  • Metalworking

Within our facility, new ideas can seamlessly undergo the entire development process—from ideation, to prototyping, to business conceptualization—like never before possible. Here, students, faculty, and community members can take their ideas to the next level and launch new products more quickly and more effectively than ever before.

What it offers

  • Short courses, credit courses, leisure learning, certifications, and K-12 project-based learning activities
  • Support for our academic and workforce programs by integrating “making” into the curriculum
  • Opportunities for artisans and crafters to experiment with new techniques and share their expertise

This space is designed to create the leaders of the future:

  • For students, it provides hands-on and collaborative experiences to maximize learning potential and to inspire a new generation of innovators.
  • For educators, it provides opportunities to innovate their teaching and learning practices in an experimental and supportive environment.
  • For entrepreneurs and leadership teams, it provides opportunities to explore potential—your own and your company’s—by facilitating ideation and creative thinking through a unique hands-on experience.

The Conference Center
The Conference Center furthers the collaborative mission of the Institute. This flexible space can accommodate up to 600 participants and provides opportunities for hosting seminars, conferences, and competitions. With state-of the-art audio-visual capabilities, events can be broadcasted around the world.

The Teaching Innovation Academy
The Teaching Innovation Academy is a structured program where faculty and staff are able to explore innovative teaching methods and learning practices. Working collaboratively, Innovation Fellows throughout the entire College can convene here to experiment with the newest approaches to teaching and learning, including:

  • Instructional strategies
  • Interactive learning
  • Leveraging advanced technology
  • Captivating student interest
  • Project-based learning
  • Flexible learning spaces

The Learning Commons
The Learning Commons is an evolving system of spaces that provide shared and flexible learning areas throughout the building. These areas foster creativity and innovation by offering ubiquitous access to technology and information services that respond and adapt to user needs.
Technology is infused throughout the Learning Commons to support and enhance creative activities and problem-based learning. Library and information services throughout the Learning Commons provide access to resources and tools that align with the learning experiences of Houston Community College and West Houston Institute. These services respond to users at their point of need and foster the development of digital and information literacy skills.

Ideas Academy 
IDEAS Academy at West Houston Institute will offer programs that integrate Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship with the Arts and Sciences. This curriculum is about teaching the interdisciplinary mindsets and skillsets that will lead to success in the 21st century. It offers opportunities for students to engage in real-world, experiential learning that promotes creativity and innovation in all fields of study across the institution.

Center for Entrepreneurship
HCC’s entrepreneurial and leadership training efforts through its Center for Entrepreneurship expands into West Houston Institute’s facility, where an increased emphasis is placed upon breakthrough thinking. With workshops designed for experimentation and creative synergy, West Houston Institute gives aspiring entrepreneurs the capacity to bring their ideas to life through rapid prototyping and conceptualization

West Houston Institute is a truly unique facility that serves our students and our faculty in new and different ways through collaborative engagement and experiential learning. It provides our communities with opportunities for advanced learning and expanded services through a unique set of elements and design innovations. Based on principles of The Medici Effect, West Houston Institute facilitates diverse collaboration among all constituencies who use it, and in the process, results in a more creative college that is focused on innovation to ensure institutional relevance and advancement.

With a state-of-the-art MakerSpace, Collaboratorium, Teaching Innovation Academy, Conference Center, Undergraduate Science Research Labs, and a first-of-its-kind IDEAS Academy, West Houston Institute is a benchmark of how teaching and learning should be approached to properly prepare students for the 21st century workplace.

We imagine a future where interconnected spaces are created to design innovative solutions through shared synergy. We imagine a future where diversity and collaboration are integral components of the learning paradigm. We imagine a future where education itself is redefined and reinvented, that reimagines what solutions are possible.

Welcome to the forefront of innovation.

Teach at the West Houston Institute

Faculty from across the Houston Community College District are invited to submit proposals for teaching at the West Houston Institute. Initiatives from all areas of study designed to encourage and facilitate high-impact learning practices, instructional design, collaborative pedagogy, technology-enhanced learning, and a culture of educational excellence at the departmental and program levels are particularly sought as we work to re-imagine and re-invent higher education!

Submit a Proposal to Teach at the Institute

West Houston Institute

2811 Hayes Road, Houston, TX 77082