Building Bridges and Busting Walls: Infusing Entrepreneurship Across the Campus by Rowan University and Iona College

Entrepreneurship doesn’t belong in the business school. It is inherently interdisciplinary and needs to be positioned as such. This can be most effectively accomplished by housing the program at the university level (i.e., Provost’s Office) and by structuring academic entrepreneurship programs in non-traditional ways.

Presented by Christoph Winkler (Iona College), Eric Liguori (Rowan University), Matt Edson (Rowan University)

Key Takeaways

  • Take advantage of language ambiguity and clarify vernacular
  • Colleagues may have people they need to please academically
  • Student ambassadors can spread the word across the campus
  • Projects/problems identified to build solutions together with a collaborative culture
  • We cannot dismantle the silos, but we can invert them to start seeing each other and build a culture of collaboration and communication around entrepreneurship and innovation to empower students to be value creators in the world

 

Opening remarks from Christoph

  • Excited about interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education
  • Iona – 5 years old – truly interdisciplinary – not part of any school
  • Dual appointment in business school of management + psychology + report to provost, so sit at the same table as the deans
  • Equity embedded in terms of how I create co-curricular body with faculty from college
  • Started with co-curricular activities
    • Hackathons
    • Guest speaker
    • Competitions
    • CEO student club
    • University Fellows with Stanford
    • To see how can we get students in our space and have conversations about what it means to be entrepreneurial
  • Started building set of courses to move toward a minor in entrepreneurship
  • Build a BBA program – 21 credit embedded in business school
  • BA Entrepreneurial Leadership – interdisciplinary liberal arts
  • Grad certificate at the grad level
  • All these experiences allow us to embed and see where is the gravity across campus
  • Purpose is not venture creation
  • Purpose is building a culture of entrepreneurial mindset
  • Can we call the business modeling course “business” modeling because it’s interdisciplinary?
    • Yes…
  • What do we mean by entrepreneurship education? Needed initial definition to have common language to work toward curriculum development and community of practice
  • That’s the institutional development that overlaps
  • Grass roots
    • Hans faculty fellowship – $3k-$6k grant to faculty who were interested in answering how can I develop an entrepreneurial curriculum in my discipline?
      • Get students interested in the process
      • Bring in resources
      • Create co-curricular activities
      • Now run dozens of projects across 5 cycles in each 
  • OUTCOME: culture shift among faculty who now felt empowered to use it in their classrooms
    • Convened these people through seminars and lunch and learn like GEEx
      • Shared experiences, what’s working, and create connections across campus
    • Having it outside the business school helped
    • Endowment helps
    • Built programs in collaboration with the schools
    • Empowered the faculty in the schools to participate without stepping on toes
    • Let them drive the bus in their department

 

Opening remarks from Eric and Matt at Rowan (public school in southern NJ with 22k students)

  • Showed up 5 years ago with a focus on entrepreneurship spread across all campuses
    • The initiative from the provost and all the deans
    • 3 students first year –> 167 majors as of yesterday
    • 4 students first year –> 78 minors as of yesterday (250 in the process)
  • Working deliberately to grow the program
    • Fundamental difference
    • We have done nothing to grow the major
      • Don’t do outreach
      • Don’t talk about it
    • EVERYTHING we do is to advocate and push for the MINOR
  • 10 days ago we got approval for interdisciplinary certificates, which are few less than minor
    • Designed to work especially well with computer science or engineering that have a lot of requirements and can’t take the full minor
    • One is innovation and tech certificate
    • Biomedical has good synergies
  • January 2022 launched a school in entrepreneurship
    • Harness all these assets in a unified way and drive this vision forward
    • Looking at how we can work with partners across campus to grow the major, minor, and reach of the center and all of it’s programs
    • Support faculty research
    • How do we connect the dots and make it work for people coming from different perspectives?
    • Haven’t figured out a way to do anything with education or math…
  • Matt from Rowan
    • Started a veterinary practice after graduating vet school
    • Students are not learning that they can do it as they come out
    • Important to have a vet school in NJ because there isn’t one now and only 33 in USA
    • Want more students to know that they can do what he did
  • Discussion Questions
  • What works well on your campus when it comes to interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education?
    • 1:1 meeting if you can get it with directors of graduate studies or department chairs
    • Shorouq Almallah – Grand Valley State University
    • Students as ambassadors to reach out to other students
    • Michelle Dowan – UCC
    • Sit under the PE office for innovation – extracurricular rather than embedded in the school
    • Champions that are very interested in entrepreneurship themselves, so they heavily influence their students, which is amazing
    • Going directly to societies/clubs – student societies – women in STEM – medTech – entrepreneurship society aka club
      • Go to them and support their events and vice versa
    • 2 way communication partners to share email newsletter blurbs
    • Grand Valley – can host club lunches and sponsor their tickets
    • Student clubs who want to get invited to cool events with speakers
      • Fraternities, women in business, finance dudes – email and can we get invited
    • Community events hosted by the economic club or SBC
    • Usually $65/ticket (+ a discount) and they bring high level speakers
    • Really cool experience
    • Trips to other cities open to any student major 
    • In person event to send a “delegation” of students to in person
    • Michelle was showcasing an events program on innovation and entrepreneurs
      • Instead of just incubation awards
      • It’s about linking together all the programs and events
      • Hosted an event right before with 70 students and offered food to keep them around for another hour to learn more about incubation program
    • Big board in the middle of campus to solve problems
  • From the group
    • Using the word entrepreneurship can be turn on/off
      • Innovator
      • Creator
      • Builder
    • Some “don’t want to run a business, but they do want to create impact”
    • Ex. run a symposium and identify an audience who is interested in that topic
      • Work at who the audience is
      • Study a market
      • Make proposal about how to prototype and execute it
    • Vet – rarely have problems with patients (animals) and always do with clients (humans)
      • Pets don’t come in with credit cards
    • Eric – Entrepreneurship is too scary a word and artists won’t go for it
      • Jim Hart this morning does a ton in art entrepreneurship
      • What’s the real barrier to some of the collaboration?
        • Maybe it’s as simple as changing the vernacular
  • POINT: Take advantage of language ambiguity and clarify vernacular
      • Need to identify customers (faculty) who want to embed what we do in their courses
      • Erik – product development internship
        • Be aware of biases that need business student for business internships
      • Mike VT – product design, product development, engineering design…
        • Little bit of language finesse matters a lot
  • POINT: Colleagues may have people they need to please academically
      • Bill – there are faculty who want to collaborate and participate
        • I have these skills
        • I’d like to learn more
        • I’d love to be able to teach this mindfully and intentionally
  • POINT: Student ambassadors can spread the word across campus
      • Matthew – entrepreneurship program is the connector that I’m missing
        • Great way to 
      • Kayla – student had idea to speak to first year experience course about the entrepreneurship program is a great way to promote
      • Christoph – building a program with, not for, the students
      • What do we do with institutions, programs, centers, and schools?
        • It depends contextually
        • Interdisciplinary = faculty + students involved in ways outside of traditional silos
      • Bureaucratic hurdles in academia
      • Culture barriers (ambiguous) > structural barriers (clearly defined)
  • POINT: Projects/problems identified to build solutions together with a collaborative culture
    • Do you have any cons or drawbacks to not being affiliated with the business school?
      • Business school can have better fundraising and advancement resources
    • Eric said to Dean, “There’s only one Eric…”
    • Dean said to him, “I’m thankful for that every day” (laugh)
    • We only have so much capacity to go and do this, so work where there’s synergies and let them spill over and grow over time
    • Resentment
      • Be aware of when it crops up
      • Comes back to the culture piece
  • We cannot dismantle the silos
  • We can invert them to start seeing each other and build a culture of collaboration and communication around entrepreneurship and innovation to empower students to be value creators in the world
    • You need to build momentum, and momentum is built gradually through all the things you do on campus

Do you want to chat about how to use our resources?

More Renewable Resources