There has been an explosion in entrepreneurship education across the globe. Universities have created majors, minors, concentrations, certificates and graduate degrees. A big challenge concerns the development of faculty to teach the courses and deliver the programs. To address this need, the Spears School of Business offers the Experiential Classroom, an intensive three-day program on best practices in entrepreneurship education.
Each year, 75 delegates are accepted into the program. For the 2012 program, they represented 29 states, 17 countries and 65 universities. These delegates include new faculty, seasoned educators who are retooling their curricula, and entrepreneurs entering the classroom for the first time to teach their trade. A wide variety of disciplines are represented, and this year 13 Coleman Fellows attended. These fellows are faculty from disciplines outside a business school who have received recognition from the Coleman Foundation.
This letter was written by Michael Morris, head of the Oklahoma State University School of Entrepreneurship, and published by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Read the original letter.
In these difficult times, universities face a vexing challenge in developing their entrepreneurship programs. There are significant difficulties in staffing courses, especially as student demand continues to grow, but also in ensuring the quality, rigor, and substance of these courses. Schools are scrambling to find qualified faculty to design and deliver a growing range of entrepreneurship courses. Individuals from disciplines both inside and outside the business school are getting involved, with a growing reliance on adjuncts and entrepreneurs.
A unique feature of the Experiential Classroom in 2008 was the addition of the Beyster Scholars, a program to encourage entrepreneurship educators to teach tools and techniques that facilitate employee ownership in entrepreneurial ventures. The Beyster Institute is co-sponsor of the annual Experiential Classroom, and is a leading advocate of employee ownership schemes. Four Beyster Scholars were picked from a number of applicants, and they included Dr. Natasa Christodoulidou, Ph.D., a marketing professor from California State University Dominguez Hills, Dr. Jim Ondracek, Ph.D., a professor of business administration at Minot State University, Dr. Frank Ridzi, a sociology professor at Le Moyne College, and Robert Stachen, a law professor at the Western New England College. These individuals will spend the next twelve months working on ways to integrate modules and materials related to employee ownership into their entrepreneurship classes. Each will receive $1000 to support their efforts.
The Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED) has committed $10,000 is two grants to support the ongoing delivery of the Experiential Classroom. Based in LaJolla, California, and inspired by the amazing example provided by entrepreneur Bob Beyster when he created the SAIC corporation, FED is committed to employment ownership in companies.
They are especially interested in helping entrepreneurs learn how to implement employee ownership schemes within their ventures. With years of expertise, FED has identified a number of different types of employee ownership approaches that can be tailored to different firms. As part of their partnership with the Experiential Classroom, FED has worked with entrepreneurship faculty to develop modules on employee ownership that can be dropped into entrepreneurship courses. These include teaching materials, case examples, and exercises. Tony Mathews from the Foundation for Enterprise Development also speaks annually at the Experiential Classroom.
Going into its tenth year, the Experiential Classroom has a new home at Oklahoma State University, with the Clinic now held annually in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The host hotel becomes the beautiful and newly renovated Crowne Plaza in downtown Tulsa, with the sessions held on the OSU’s Tulsa campus, just a few blocks from the Crowne Plaza. Michael Morris, Clinic Director, explains “This new location is more centrally located for faculty from around the United States, making it easier for many to attent. It offers access to a number of resources previously unavailable, and allows us to take the Experiential Classroom in some exciting new directions. We remain committed to sharing the truly best practices in the Entrepreneurship classroom, and delivering a world class program. With this new location, we can continue to raise the bar.”
Dates for 2009
Experiential Classroom X will be held September 17-20, 2009, at the Oklahoma State University’s Facilities in Tulsa and Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The program begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 17 and ends at noon on Sunday, September 20. Delegates must attend the entire event.
A special version of the Experiential Classroom was presented to 28 Russian university instructors and administrators at the Moscow Higher School of Economics in October, 2006. This customized three-day seminar was sponsored by the U.S.-Russia Center for Entrepreneurship and presented by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in collaboration with the Beyster Institute at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego.
The participants represented nineteen of the top institutions of higher learning throughout Russia, and included professors as well as department heads, deans and directors. The seminar was presented by Mike Morris and Minet Schindehutte of the Whitman School at Syracuse together with Ray Smilor and Rob Fuller of the Beyster Institute. Participants were introduced to leading edge methods for teaching entrepreneurship; new perspectives on the core content of entrepreneurship; approaches for building a great entrepreneurship program; and novel approaches to experiential teaching and learning. In addition, each participant selected an entrepreneurship course to implement when they returned home, and the presenting faculty worked with them in structuring that course. Roughly half of the participants had entrepreneurship courses already in place, and others have planned to offer courses. Feedback was very positive, and participants especially appreciated the hands-on approach of the seminar.
The Program in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises is extremely pleased to announce a $10,000 grant from the Coleman Foundation. This grant will be used to support ten $1,000 scholarships that will go to deserving faculty from across the country to attend the Experiential Classroom VI being held at Syracuse University September 15-18th, 2005.