ICE Program Leadership


Bill Conner, Ph.D
Faculty Director, Program for Innovation, Creativity &  Entrepreneurship


Dr. Bill Conner is the Lelia and David Farr Professor of Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship.  He has taught a first-year seminar entitled "Life's Devices" and upper-level courses in "Biological Innovation and Entrepreneurship", "Biomimetics: Nature's Way" and “Bioinspiration and Biomimetics”.  All focus on the interface of Biology and Entrepreneurship. His research interests include the behavioral genetics of autism using a Drosophila model. His laboratory explores the genetic underpinnings of autism the use of dietary chemicals to rescue normal behavior.  He is interested in entrepreneurship because he believes that innovations are frequently made at the interfaces of disciplines where new paradigms can lead to discovery. He and his students are currently funded by the National Science Foundation.   Faculty Bio.  

Polly Black, BA  MA  MBA
Professor of Practice, WFU School of Business
Affiliate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
AVP and Director, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Polly Black

Polly Black teaches Business and Entrepreneurship and is Faculty Advisor for the Internships and Independent studies.  Ms. Black also directs the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, a position she assumed at the end of August 2010.  In this position, Ms. Black has responsibility for the experiential learning side of the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor at Wake Forest, which includes being Faculty Advisor for the Internships and Independent studies and working with WFU Student Entrepreneurs on their ventures, as well as overseeing the coordination of workshops and co-curricular events, managing the seed grant awards.

Ms.Black has a strong marketing track record in start-up, turnaround and growth situations. She brings over twenty years of diverse business experience as a successful consultant and entrepreneur, as well as corporate experience with HanesBrands, Inc. and Frito Lay, and teaching and coaching experience at the University of Virginia Darden School and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ms. Black holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School, a Master's degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree from Vassar College.  She was awarded the 2015 Undergraduate Faculty Teaching Award from the WFU School of Business.

Lynn Book, MFA
Senior Lecturer, Theatre and Dance
Associate Program Director, Creativity and Innovation


Lynn Book is an innovative educator, internationally recognized performance artist and creativity consultant who has contributed to the development of groundbreaking programs that foster innovations in new media in Chicago: The School of the Art Institute (1985-95), in New York City: The Sidney Kahn Kitchen Summer Institute (2000-05) and in Austria at the Transart Institute, Europe’s first low-residency MFA program for new media, where she continues as an associate since 2005. 

Ms. Book's performance career has included citations, fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and MacArthur Foundation.  Ms. Book premiered Running Skywards, a new interactive performance media project at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in March 2007, for which she received the Archie Fund for Faculty Excellence at WFU. Ms. Book founded Voicelab, an educational and cultural center, in New York City in 1999 through which she taught, coached and produced multifaceted events featuring innovative approaches to performance and new media, including R & R (Release and Regenerate), an on-site service for internet and other small business start-ups in New York City, which she initiated.

Recently, Ms. Book organized the extremely successful national symposium in March 2009, Creativity: Worlds in the Making (read more), followed by an outstanding conference, Teaching Creativity in Higher Education:  Current Trends and Critical Encounters (read more) which took place in March/April 2010.

Ms. Book has a BFA in sculpture and an MFA in performance art and media studies.

Lisa Burton
Program Coordinator, Program for Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship

Ms. Burton has been with the University since 1998.  She has been involved with the program for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship since  its inception in 2004 when it first launched as the Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts Program under the Kauffman Foundation Grant.  She coordinates both the academic and co-curricular programs.  In addition, Ms. Burton advises and registers students in courses for the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor, assists students and faculty with internal grant funding opportunities, and administers grants and awards.  Before joining the program, Ms. Burton worked in the division of Student Life assisting with campus leadership development, volunteer and new student orientation programs.  Ms. Burton received a B.S. from High Point University.

Melissa Ryon

Administrative Assistant, Office of Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship

Mrs. Ryon has been with the University since February of 2012. She helps with student registration, program coordination and event planning. Her relationship with Wake Forest started in 1998 when she was a visiting student in the Demon Deacon Marching Band. Before coming to the center, Mrs. Ryon worked for the Center for Design Innovation. She received a B.A. from Salem College, and her M.A. in Liberal Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently in a Phd program in Social Psychology at Walden University.