Special to The Business Times
The Coleman Foundation has awarded Colorado Mesa University a grant to fund three Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellowships. A faculty entrepreneurship fellow is someone who understands the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills in their students and developing lines of communication between business, sciences, arts, and career and technical education programs. The Fellows work to incorporate entrepreneurship into their current classes.
Georgann Jouflas, lecturer of business at Colorado Mesa University was selected as the Project Director of The Coleman Foundation grant. She, in turn, has selected a diverse mix of faculty to participate: Jake Allee, Assistant Professor of Art; Alma Jackson, Assistant Professor of Nursing; and John Sluder, Assistant Technical Professor in Process Technology.
Currently students in a capstone course at Western Colorado Community College (WCCC) work in cross-curricular teams on projects designed around new product development. The focus of the course is to develop awareness to the action needed for small business creation. The current capstone coursework at WCCC is based on business and industry involvement. Many teams work directly with business processes side-by-side with their business partners. One of the goals of the capstone course is to work as a proof-of-concept team in development of new product ideas. What is missing is the thread of enterprise creation beginning in the early coursework for those multiple disciplines. The Fellows will be the leaders helping faculty to develop this curricular concept.
The Coleman Foundation Fellows Program has already opened the lines of communication. Currently several senior level business students in the Entrepreneurship class are working with WCCC students to develop prototypes for their business idea. This integrative coursework mirrors how industry works and develops students with the skills and perspective needed to be effective employees or business owners.
Currently many small businesses work with the students by guest lecturing and mentoring the students as well as participating on advisory committees.
“The Fellows will work on strengthening these relationships by assisting faculty in developing new resources, said Vice President for Community College Affairs, Brigitte Sündermann. “Taking the great work already in place and integrating the entrepreneurial concepts with WCCC programs will focus on developing relationships between the institutions and business entrepreneurs. We can show non-business students a pathway to business ownership.”
The central role of faculty will be to ensure the students have the right tools to be successful, she said.