Big Man on Campus goes to Grand Canyon University

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

As Grand Canyon University continues to grow and see record enrollment, our Big Man on Campus decided to go check things out. What we found is that the partnership between the Colangelo College of Business and College of Science, Engineering and Technology is not only proving to be successful; it might be responsible for some of the well-deserved hype.

The partnership is allowing students hands-on experience in labs that are typically reserved for graduate students. "The research has shown if you can get students involved early, it'll sustain them longer and they'll find more success and they'll be able to find the context of the other text work" explains Michael Sheller, Associate Dean of Engineering. 

One of their first proven successes? Letric Longboards (  which are created, designed and produced by two students with the help of GCU. 

[VIDEO: GCU students take skateboards to new level]

"We get unending support. All the professors that we have, whether it's engineering or business, they have an open-door policy. And they want you to walk in and talk to them," says Lectric Longboards' Co-Founder Nathan Cooper.

What started with an idea to make electric skateboards more cheaply turned into a wild project that started coming together in the Lopes Lab. It was there they not only designed the board but came up with revolutionary technology which pushed their boards to 26 miles per hour and 15 miles on a single charge, explains the other Co-Founder Levi Conlow. "We want to go faster than everyone else, we want to go farther than everyone else but we also want to be half the price if not more than our competitors."

So far, it's proven to be successful, selling 1,500 boards and racking up $700,000 in sales in their first year. However, they want to continue growing the business and start giving back to the community by making "bucket boards" for underprivileged kids. 

GCU wants the same success for all of its students. That's why they are pulling heads out of textbooks and unveiling six new state-of-the-art labs.  

"We try to design all of our courses so they're hands on, equipment-centered. So this maximizes learning. Engineers learn by doing. It's not just a matter of theory in a book but taking that and applying it," says Sheller. 

And GCU is ready to add to that by adding 6 new additional labs in the Spring of next year, and also adding additional courses.

[VIDEO: Grand Canyon University adds cutting edge labs]

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