Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

09-28-06

Contacts:

Kay Palan, College of Business, (515) 294-9526, kpalan@iastate.edu

Howard Van Auken, Management, College of Business, (515) 294-2478, vanauken@iastate.edu

Judi Eyles, Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, (515) 296-6532, eyles@iastate.edu

Brian Meyer, College of Agriculture, (515) 294-0706, bmeyer@iastate.edu

Linda Niehm, College of Human Sciences, (515) 294-1930, niehmlin@iastate.edu

Mike Ferlazzo, News Service, (515) 294-8986, ferlazzo@iastate.edu

Iowa State initiative integrates entrepreneurship across campus curricula

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University is hoping to make its students more entrepreneurial -- and not just business majors. This past summer, deans from all seven colleges agreed to work with faculty from the College of Business and officials from the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship on a campus-wide initiative designed to explore opportunities for integrating entrepreneurship across their curricula.

Recognizing and evaluating opportunities is the essence of entrepreneurship. Acting on those opportunities can sometimes yield a new business, but it doesn't have to.

"Entrepreneurship is commonly believed to only be about starting a business, but that's not necessarily what it's about," said Kay Palan, associate dean, undergraduate programs, and an associate professor of marketing in the College of Business. She is also academic coordinator for entrepreneurship at Iowa State.

What entrepreneurship is

"Entrepreneurship is about taking advantage of opportunities -- recognizing them and evaluating them," said Palan. "We're trying to educate people to let them know that it doesn't matter what their background or chosen career field is, they all need to take advantage of opportunities. So, this is an effort to help students to learn how to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities."

After publishing more than 50 academic papers on entrepreneurship and small business, ISU Professor of Management Howard Van Auken is serving as liaison to the faculty leadership teams from the seven different colleges on this initiative.

"I think one of my roles is that I can help them better understand what entrepreneurship is," said Van Auken. "It's a set of critical thinking skills that are appropriate for not only students, but in our careers. The fact is that we are all entrepreneurial -- some more than others. This (initiative) is a way of helping everybody recognize what these skills are so they become better at what they're doing. There's been greater attention given across the country now that these critical thinking skills are appropriate in a lot of venues."

Of course when it comes to getting attention, money talks -- and The Pappajohn Center is providing a one-time Entrepreneurship Grant Program to ISU faculty and staff to support the initiative. The Center for Entrepreneurship is accepting grant proposals to award four or five grants per college, provided by funds from the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. Proposals could include innovative new courses, revised courses, program or activities that focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, opportunity recognition, or experiential learning for students.

Iowa State and its Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship ranked 24th nationally for students who want to be entrepreneurs, according to a survey released this month of more than 700 colleges and universities by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

College of Agriculture is entrepreneurial leader

The College of Agriculture has become a campus entrepreneurial leader with its Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, which was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million gift from Roger and Connie Underwood of Ames. For example, the college's second annual Agricultural Entrepreneurship Institute, set for Thursday-Friday, Oct. 19-20, will focus on incorporating entrepreneurship into existing courses and activities. It will also examine how activities and ideas can enhance student creativity, innovation, persistence and communication skills. Kathy Allen, director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization, will lead the afternoon session at Reiman Gardens titled "Teaching Entrepreneurship to Technology Students." Next year, the initiative will launch a summer internship program to match students with entrepreneurial companies.

The College of Human Sciences has also been active, making Michael Morris -- Witting Chair and director of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises at Syracuse University -- its 2006-07 Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Chair. He made a presentation earlier this month titled "The Importance of Being Entrepreneurial in Today's Changing University Climate." And he'll continue to help faculty and students understand entrepreneurial development throughout the academic year.

"Entrepreneurship includes the refinement of processes such as innovativeness, risk taking, problem solving, leadership, vision and creativity," said Linda Niehm, one of the Hilton Chair coordinators. "We are trying to reach out with this entrepreneurship initiative to all areas of the human sciences. We need time to make these connections and this initiative is going to help us do that."

And in time, the Iowa State campus will become a whole lot more entrepreneurial in its thinking.

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Quick look

Iowa State has begun a campus-wide initiative to integrate entrepreneurship into the curricula of its seven colleges.

Quote

"Entrepreneurship is about taking advantage of opportunities -- recognizing them and evaluating them. We're trying to educate people to let them know that it doesn't matter what their background or chosen career field is, they all need to take advantage of opportunities. So, this is an effort to help students to learn how to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities."

Kay Palan