Entrepreneurship educators learn to ‘teach outside the box,’ bring diversity to Experiential Classroom VI
Entrepreneurship educators learn to ‘teach outside the box,’ bring diversity to Experiential Classroom VISeptember 01, 2005Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
What do earthquakes have to do with entrepreneurship? Ask Kevin Z. Truman at Washington University in St. Louis. Truman, department chair and professor of civil engineering, teaches courses in engineering mechanics, earthquake engineering, steel structures, and structural analysis and design. He believes structural engineering is well suited for entrepreneurs.
“Within my structural engineering courses, I constantly explain to the students that starting their own consulting firms or specialty firms for structural engineering is easy,” says Truman. “Within our projects I also try to incorporate a business model through a bid process that simulates our industry and professional presentations, both pre- and post-design.”
Truman will be one of 90 educators attending Experiential Classroom VI (EC 6), an annual clinic hosted by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises in Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Sept 15-18. EC 6 is designed to demonstrate practical, simple, provocative and innovative ways in which new entrepreneurship educators can use a variety of content-related and experiential tools. The program seeks to help entrepreneurship educators become great teachers by sharing best practices.
Entrepreneurship is not just for business anymore. An emerging trend at many colleges and universities around the country is the spread of entrepreneurship education into all disciplines. From nursing and engineering to the performing arts and history, courses in entrepreneurship are being added to curricula across campus. Once housed strictly in schools of management, entrepreneurship was not embraced by academics because of the perceived conflict between academeand commercialism. Now, inspired by the innovation, creativity, risk-taking and commitment of entrepreneurial thinking, educators have woven its principles into their teaching.
Now the fastest growing area in academe, entrepreneurship is a subject present in numerous non-business programs, such as Wake Forest University’s Center for Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts. Sharon M. Andrews is an associate professor of acting/directing for the Department of Theater at Wake Forest and director of communications and awareness for the center.
“Many successes in the field of theater are the result of entrepreneurial skills. Actors must know how to promote themselves, to market themselves,” says Andrews. “Unless they work long term for a professional ensemble company, they are essentially a business unto themselves, gathering resources which, along with their talent and training, include such things as agents, headshots, cards, demo tapes and contracts, until they get their next job. They must manage their income, their taxes and so on. Every successful theater or dance company is a result of creative entrepreneurship and enterprising energy.”
Andrews is attending EC 6 to get a better understanding of what it takes to achieve success in entrepreneurship. Her work at the Office of Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts involves helping develop a campus perspective on expanding entrepreneurship.
Hamish Gow will also participate in EC 6. He is an assistant professor of agriculture and business administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches courses on international marketing management, international business and international agribusiness. He hopes to better understand and take advantage of experiential learning mechanisms and use them to enliven the learning within his classrooms in Illinois and out in the real world. “I want to make the whole experience as student-centered and real as possible, with me as just the facilitator helping students go along a road of learning and exploration as they develop specific industry-applicable skills and lessons,” says Gow.
One of the unique aspects of the Experiential Classroom is the diversity of expertise, skills and perspectives the delegates bring to the sessions. Because participants come from various geographic, cultural and academic backgrounds, they offer a wealth of different knowledge and experience. Truman, Andrews and Gow plan to utilize their respective talents in analysis, creativity and strategy to enrich their experience at EC 6.
For more information on Experiential Classroom VI, call (315) 443-3550 or visithttp://whitman.syr.edu/eee/falcone/classroom/.