Seeking to advance entrepreneurship education in colleges and universities around the country, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has formed a multidisciplinary panel of distinguished scholars, including the Dean of the College at the University of Rochester, who will provide recommendations for a comprehensive approach to teaching entrepreneurship to college students.
Through the Kauffman Panel on Entrepreneurship Curriculum in Higher Education, the foundation seeks to create a framework that becomes the gold standard for an exemplary university-level educational program in entrepreneurship. William Scott Green, Dean of the College, Professor of Religion, and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Judaic Studies at Rochester, was selected for the panel.
Though entrepreneurial activity has played a dominant role in the U.S. economy for decades, the study of entrepreneurship is relatively new to higher education. "Despite impressive gains in the numbers and quality of courses over the past 20 years, entrepreneurship education still lives mostly on the fringes of academe, not in the mainstream," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "Our aim is to change that so that entrepreneurship is a legitimate, full-fledged field of study. The Kauffman panel's guidance on the formation of a comprehensive curriculum in entrepreneurship is central to this goal."
In December 2003, the University of Rochester was chosen by the foundation as one of eight universities to receive multi-year grants to make entrepreneurship education an even deeper ingredient of academic activity. With that $3.5 million grant and additional matching funds, entrepreneurship courses and programs across the disciplines and schools at Rochester are affecting students and faculty in the Eastman School of Music, Warner School of Education and Human Development, School of Nursing, College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, Simon School of Business Administration, and School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, which is directed by Green, is composed of deans from all of the University's schools and has responsibility for developing a Universitywide curriculum in entrepreneurship as part of the Kauffman grant. Through the center, new partnerships with alumni, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations are identified, faculty are encouraged to design coursework and programs, and "best practices" in entrepreneurship education are researched.
Chairing the new Kauffman Panel on Entrepreneurship Curriculum in Higher Education is Richard Newton, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Other panel members are: Rodney Brooks, director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; R. Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School at Columbia University; Dipak Jain, dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; Linda Katehi, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering at Purdue University; George McLendon, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences at Duke University; Jim Plummer, dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford University; and Myron Roomkin, the Alfred J. Weatherhead III Professor of Management and dean at Case Western Reserve University.
The panel will meet throughout the year for extended work and review sessions, primarily in Kansas City where the foundation is based. To assist in developing the new curriculum guidelines, panel members will evaluate relevant research about the process of successful business formation, and will review what has been learned in the many existing programs on entrepreneurship under way throughout the United States.
A recent Kauffman Foundation-sponsored survey revealed that the names and key concepts of entrepreneurship courses vary widely from school to school. "Though most university-level entrepreneurship programs have some basic features in common, there is so much variation it's hard to identify a typical curriculum, let alone an exemplary one," said Judith Cone, the foundation's vice president of entrepreneurship. "While diversity is good, this field needs more of the consistency in core concepts found in other academic fields."
The Kauffman Foundation has years of experience promoting entrepreneurship education at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels. For more than 10 years, the foundation has worked to ensure that entrepreneurship was a facet of the nation's schools of business. Pleased with the progress in this area—today, nearly every U.S. school of business provides entrepreneurship studies—the foundation recently embarked on a new strategy of making entrepreneurship a "cross-campus experience," thereby opening up opportunities for non-business students who are often more likely to launch a high-impact company.
The panel expects to issue its curriculum report in 2007.