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Balancing Administrative and Faculty Interest in Entrepreneurial Programs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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Balancing Administrative and Faculty Interest in Entrepreneurial Programs

By Gregory Timberlake, Psy.D., Dean of Business, Industry & Technology
North Central State College, Mansfield, OH

Our roles as either administrators or faculty members impact our objectives and reasons for becoming engaged in entrepreneurial work. These differences in role demands can be a source of conflict and misunderstanding. Administrators, as noted in the NACCE Author Guidelines for the NACCE journal, Community College Entrepreneurship, are often "charged with establishing” and "building community support for, and finding funding for” entrepreneurial activity.1 This web document also recognizes that "faculty members who teach entrepreneurship education” are likely "interested in new ideas about” curricular issues in e-ship learning and "engaging” students in those activities.2 These are notably different goals and can lead to conflict if not managed well.

As a relatively new dean at a college, with a relatively new entrepreneurship program and having arrived after the first wave of entrepreneur activity had washed through the college, I have learned that these difference are real, can be harmful to relationships between administrators and faculty and might be better understood and reduced with a hyper focus on the end results, which are likely to be shared by both groups and likely to include new business startups by our students and regional economic development as a result of those businesses.

While I suspect that everyone wants these end goals of businesses and jobs, the differences in our objectives can be divisive. For instance, administrators likely come in these three varieties, presidents, deans, and fundraisers.

a) Perhaps a key role for the dean is to help keep all players focused on the vision of jobs and businesses; in a sense the dean might be best situated to act as mediator, buffer or more constructively the focuser when that role is needed because of different objectives within the vision.

b) The president likely has the view from the highest point and wants the businesses and jobs.

c) The fundraiser has to help find the money for the new initiatives. Like many colleges, we needed startup money for our programs; these costs included:

a. We built an entrepreneur room.

b. We traveled to visit other programs.

c. We required release time for writing or revising our courses.

d. We sought support for an entrepreneur club and speakers.

e. We hosted a tour by the Extreme Entrepreneur Tour.

f. We are paying to have a closer relationship with our local Small Business Development Center.

Whenever we ask our fundraisers to go to the community and find money, they have a vested interest in both understanding the project and helping to shape it so they can be more successful in delivering the support.

The path for moving forward is to keep the focus on jobs and businesses, while discussing our different objectives in enough detail to maintain the relationships.

1 & 2

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