IDEAS Academy

IDEAS Academy

Developing student mindsets and skillsets for a digital and global 21st century

Explore, Imagine, Create!

IDEAS Academy is a new kind of learning experience at the West Houston Institute where students develop the mindsets and skillsets used by innovators, designers and entrepreneurs that will help them thrive in a digital and global 21st century society.

IDEAS stands for Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship integrated into the Arts and Sciences. The name also signifies the power of big ideas to change the world. Through individual coursework and real-world design challenges, students learn how to:

  • Connect the dots to recognize opportunities
  • Utilize idea generation techniques
  • Prototype concepts using digital tools
  • Launch their realized ideas into the world

Current Activities

Past Cohorts

2018-19: 2020 Census Challenge


"How can we inspire youth engagament in the 2020 Census to erase the undercount in Houston?"

In Spring 2019, Mayor Sylvester Turner challenged HCC students to design ways to inspire schools and communities to participate in the upcoming 2020 Decennial Census and help erase Houston's historic undercount. Full participation in the Census would provide billions in additional federal funding and increase the number of elective representatives in the region.

IDEAS Academy's Alief Early College students, along with traditional HCC students in Technical Writing and Government classes, accepted the challenge and worked throughout the semester to develop communication strategies targeted at specific populations, including youth aged 14-19, international residents, and minority communities.


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Spring 2018: Food Security Challenge

"How can we connect Houston's neighborhoods with fresh and healthy food?"

In Spring 2018, Houston Community College's West Houston Institute selected 20 seniors from Alief ISD's Early College High School to launch the inaugural cohort of IDEAS Academy. We partnered with the Houston Mayor's Office of Innovation to provide students with an authentic design challenge to address over the course of the semester.


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IDEAS Academy

Jordan Carswell

West Houston Institute

2811 Hayes Rd., Houston, TX 77082