If you are working on building the entrepreneurial university in your region, you are probably many times in great need to explain the what, why and when of creating a entrepreneurial university. Then this article by Torben Hager might come in handy. It gives a brief enough and still very theory-connected background of the field to allow for stressed top managers of a university to get a picture of what you are trying to make them understand. It even has a last page where they get a check list of what they need to decide on any week now. The article can be found in the book on sale here. You can also read most of the pages of it at Google Books here.
It is not only within entrepreneurship education that people discuss the need for new methods and approaches to teaching and learning. Sir Ken Robinson argues that the entire educational system needs to go through a complete transformation, and that today’s system is destroying the human capital of an entire world. See his interesting arguments in these videos:
In a recent article by Neck and Greene at Babson College they outline what they call a new research frontier of entrepreneurship as a method. This complements the existing three research frontiers of the entrepreneur as a hero, entrepreneurship as a process and entrepreneurship as cognition based. Implications for entrepreneurship educators include the need for starting business as coursework, using games and simulations, applying design-based thinking and emphasising reflective practice. Hopefully they come visit our blog where we list the programs most likely to fall within their newly named category! We actually considered adding Babson College to our list, but so far we did not think it fitted our current definition, since starting a business in the first year out of three makes it obvious to the student that she will not follow through to making it a real business, thus potentially bringing down the emotional investment. But maybe we were slightly too narrow-minded there? What do you think? Anyway, here is a link to the interesting article.
If you are a practicioner of action-based entrepreneurship education at a university you might have been confronted with critics stating that practice (of That kind) does not belong in a university setting (or any variation on that theme). Well, next time that happens, go get some help from the philosophers of education. For example you can recite Mr Learning-by-doing – John Dewey. For Dewey, learning and knowledge were closely linked to successful action in the world. Dewey stated some important factors of learning that often are omitted, such as the ethical, the aesthetic and interestingly the conative factors. Contemporary philosophers also offer help – Winch has focused his philosophical studies on the crucial role that training plays in learning. Read an excellent article by Paul Hager at University of Technology in Sydney on this topic here.
This week has been exciting for our research group, as Karen Williams-Middleton has passed her thesis defence and is now PhD in Entrepreneurial behaviour. Opponent was Professor Alain Fayolle, who is a world leader in our field. We had the pleasure of attending a seminar where Fayolle gave his view on international aspects of entrepreneurship education. He told us about an interesting report by a European expert group in the field, where they conclude, among many things, that “there seems to be a gap between the methods actually used and those that are viewed as the most effective and appropriate. Using experience-based teaching methods is crucial to developing entrepreneurial skills and abilities. Traditional educational methods (like lectures) do not correlate well with the development of entrepreneurial thinking.” Our premature feeling in the research project is that VCPs are quite scarce, despite their extensive use of action-based pedagogy that many scholars view as crucial, and this seems to be in line with the above quote. The report can be downloaded here.
In a recent article by William Scott Green on the subject of legitimacy of entrepreneurship education, he concludes that entrepreneurship can be regarded as a fundamental freedom for the individual – the ability to choose the kind of life one leads. This perspective has the potential of taking entrepreneurship education out of the firm grip of business schools, and become a topic of relevance to most students at any given university. Instead of entrepreneurship being a way of making business, it can become a way of thinking and living. For educators, this perspective can be a good way to turn a discussion around when our dear colleagues ask us why entrepreneurship education at all concerns them and their non-business students. The article can be found in the book on sale here.
On the link below you can find an interesting comparison of two VCPs in United Kingdom. Thanks to Nigel Adams at University of Buckingham for bringing our attention to it. Interesting findings are: Common problems of finding and attracting the “right” students, and high drop-out rate. On the positive side can be seen aspects such as positive reactions from a wide range of people, strong personal development of the students and successful employment of graduates. Here is a link for downloading the presentation:
Allan Gibb is an influential researcher within entrepreneurship education. His article from 1998 is a good introduction to the subject of educating entrepreneurs. Among other things, he emphasizes the need for entrepreneurship education to encourage learning by doing, experimenting, making “positive” mistakes, and by interacting with the outside world. The article can be found here:
Our journey towards trying to map out all the VCPs in the world just started. After a phone call with a member of NACUE* (The National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs), we got a tip of four Universities in the UK that might have entrepreneurship educations that would fall into our definition of a VCP. Short thereafter we had identified our first VCP in the UK. It is the Enterprise Development program offered at University of Huddersfield’s, a three years VCP provided by their Business School. More information about this VCP will be found in the VCP-list.
*NACUE is a national organization that supports and represents university enterprise societies and student entrepreneurs to drive the growth of entrepreneurship across the UK.
Today we launch this blog and list page, where those interested will be able to follow our research and networking project within entrepreneurship education. We will shortly put some more information about the project and the intended list here.