On January 8, 2009 at the Annual Conference of the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Coleman Foundation hosted a session focusing on two key programs.
Michael Hennessy introduced the session and presented an overview of strategies within the Foundation's Entrepreneurship Education area. The rest of the session focused on two of those strategies: 1) Catalyze cross-discipline Entrepreneurship education; and 2) Develop Entrepreneurship Pathways across educational systems.
Addressing the first strategy, Timothy Stearns, Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies at California State University, Fresno, and David Pistrui, Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, each described the way in which they have used Foundation-funded fellowships to identify and develop additional faculty champions for Entrepreneurship education across campus. Stearns and Pistrui select faculty from departments outside the Business School to receive small stipends which fund their ability to engage directly with the Entrepreneurship programs at their respective schools. This engagement may consist of the development of a class in the Fellow's department which incorporates Entrepreneurship concepts. Or it may take other forms which similarly advance Entrepreneurship across campus. Following the presentations by Stearns and Pistrui, two faculty entrepreneurship fellows from each campus discussed their roles as fellows and how they are participating in the expansion of Entrepreneurship education within their disciplines.
Clark McCain introduced the Coleman Foundation Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows Pilot Program. Based on the Fellows models used by Stearns, Pistrui and counterparts on other Foundation-funded campuses, the intent of this program is to identify up to 12 campuses where an Entrepreneurship faculty leader will award Fellowships to 2-3 faculty from disciplines outside of Entrepreneurship and Business. These individuals, working under the guidance of the established Entrepreneurship educator, would engage in projects which advance self-employment education and strengthen that educator’s efforts to grow Entrepreneurship education across campus.
The next topic addressed how more formal connections might develop between community colleges and universities to advance Entrepreneurship Education. Heather Van Sickle, Executive Director of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) provided background on the growing movement of Entrepreneurship Education in community colleges.
A key Foundation grant-funded program was presented by Marianne Dunklin, Instructor in the Business Division at Fresno City College and Genelle Taylor, Associate Director of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Fresno. This effort consists of educators from several community colleges in California's Central Valley working with one another and the Lyles Center to develop courses, Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization clubs and campus incubators in a coordinated manner. This collaboration, which also involves connections to Lyles Center high school programs using curricula from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, is intended to build the mechanisms that will link the tools of the classroom and the community to the building of knowledge and skills that lead to the launch of new businesses.