Development of a Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurship Program
“Development of a Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurship Program”
Dr. Tommy Cates
University of Tennessee at Martin
Practitioners in organizations suggest there is a need for university graduates who can recognize and solve problems and subsequently implement solutions. Problems occur when newly hired graduates cannot identify problems and are weak in implementation skills. In addition practitioners suggest that new graduates can develop solutions to problems individually, but they have little experience in teamwork within these situations. The School of Business Administration offers a multidisciplinary program for students who wish to study entrepreneurship. The School of Business has courses that emphasize innovation and invention, but the integration of students from other schools offers realism and technical knowledge from the other disciplines.
This presentation includes the processes that were used to develop the Entrepreneurship Program with the other academic units; the problems encountered; the solutions developed and the program that was finally approved . As in any program that crosses organizational lines of authority, there were several problems that were solved on our campus. This presentation would include course descriptions and specifications for the awarding the concentration, minor and certificate.
The University of Tennessee at Martin, located in rural Northwest Tennessee, is a primary campus of the University of Tennessee system. UT Martin offers undergraduate degree programs in more than eighty specialized fields of study. Graduate programs in business administration, education, and human environmental sciences, as well as pre-professional studies, are also available. Close relationships between students and faculty characterize instruction at all levels. Research, scholarship, and creative endeavors enhance teaching and enlarge knowledge. Some applied research efforts are particularly directed to meeting regional needs. The faculty is committed to public service, contributing significantly to the economic, educational, and cultural development of the area.
The School of Business Administration at UT Martin is accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. The School is a growing and vibrant organization. Roughly one-sixth of the student body major in business. Previously, there were five majors awarded in Accounting, Economics, Administrative Data Systems, Management, and Marketing. Within management, an option existed for a concentration in Management Information Systems. This set of degrees fit out students relatively well.
During a recent reorganization, the Management Information Systems curriculum was moved to a new major, Information Systems. The Management faculty developed three new concentrations: Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, and Operations Management. Additionally, students can obtain a General Management major. For the past six years, courses have been taught in innovation and entrepreneurship, but theses were offered as stand alone classes.
To support the Entrepreneurship Concentration, input from non-business areas was solicited. This input included faculty, student, and administrative supporters. Initial discussions with engineering, computer science, and agricultural faculty were positive. Based on these discussions, the entrepreneurship program grew to include a Minor in Entrepreneurship and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. The two approaches were needed to meet the needs of the different curricula in these diverse non-business areas across campus.
Current Status of the Entrepreneurship Program
There is a need for university graduates who can recognize and solve problems and subsequently implement solutions. Problems occur when newly hired graduates cannot identify problems and are weak in implementation skills. In addition, business people suggest that new graduates can develop solutions to problems individually, but they have little experience in teamwork within these situations. The School of Business Administration offers an Entrepreneurship Program encompassing product development and business planning. The School of Business Administration courses emphasize innovation, invention, and business planning. The integration of these business courses with non-business studies offer more realism than most curriculum in entrepreneurship.
The current curriculum offers recognition of students’ learning in three ways:
- 1) a concentration in entrepreneurship within the management major
- 2) a certificate of entrepreneurship, primarily for students in engineering and agriculture
- 3) a minor in entrepreneurship, primarily for students in arts and sciences
This concept was championed by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance based at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Considerable advice and knowledge are drawn from this Hampshire College and the Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Southern California.
Each project is developed by a team, including non-business and business students. These teams would be developed around a team concept referred to as an E Team. The “E” is for “Excellence and Entrepreneurship.” This program is a two-year study beginning in the student’s junior year. The program would ideally have equal numbers of non-business and business students.
The first course, Innovation and Creativity (Management 305), teaches fundamental business concepts with emphasis on developing feasibility studies for new and innovative products or services. Students may envision the problems that they wish to study or existing organizations may initiate these studies. In the case of submissions from existing organizations, problems have been identified and need solutions, but the organization has not had time to devote to correcting the problems. In either case, students develop feasibility plans to evaluate possible success of products, services, or solutions to existing problems. Students are assigned to teams based on their major within the University. No more than four students are on a team, and teams include equal representation from the no n-business areas and business students. Student teams explore and expand the opportunities involved in these ideas, i.e., staring a business or solving a problem supplied by an existing business. The course is open to all students, but students intersted in the two-year program are given preference for admission to the class. Team teaching by business and non-business faculty is encouraged to help; ensure the viability of products and services from a non-business standpoint.
Ideally, this first course (Management 305) would involve faculty traveling with students to trade shows to help the students generate ideas for products and services. Also, there would be visits to classes by innovators and inventors within the local area. Other speakers from distant sites would speak to the class via interactive distance learning equipment. These speakers may become involved in mentoring roles which will be mentioned later. A possible outcome of this course would be an exposition of the products and services the students have developed. Provisional patents may be suggested or required before these products are displayed. Funding for these activities would need to come primarily from sources outside the University. This exposition has yet to be accomplished.
The second course is Entrepreneurship, Management 306. Students work in teams (three or four students) composed of business and non-business students. This course uses the best of the feasibility studies from Innovation and Creativity (Management 305) to map success steps and develop business start-up plans. The course focuses on developing the students’ entrepreneurial skills. Students are expected to develop an effective team to formulate budgets, prepare financial documents, create a marketing plan, and plan for growth. The teams complete the course with a viable business plan, entrepreneurial strategies, and vision for success. If a project from an existing organization was selected , the team would integrate the product or process into the organization. A secondary goal for the class would be to encourage students to participate in the second year of the program.
This second course includes the involvement of School of Business Administration faculty, but they would also have support from the faculty from non-business areas that are involvedin the product (engineering, computer science, nursing, agriculture, etc.) Also, involvement with business executives, both active and retired, is strongly encouraged. These executives bring a wealth of ideas, experience, and encouragement to the course. The executives may serve as mentors to the teams or as speakers to the whole class.
Students would need skills in selling their ideas and themselves to investors, customers, and other constituencies. To give the students these skills, Personal Selling (Marketing 302), is required of students within the entrepreneurship program. For technical students, Technical Sales (Agricultural Economics345) is an option to replace Personal Selling.
Between the junior and senior years, the students would be encouraged to increase their knowledge and skills by working as interns with organizations supporting the program. Internships will be developed with executives involved as mentors or speakers in the program.
The first course of the senior year is a technical course to be taught during fall semester by the non-business faculty. Products and services from the previous year are refined. Production processes, product refinement, and fine tuning of the business plan will occur with intent of developing a product that can be patented or a service that can be copyrighted. Teams will do all the work and preferably each team would be a mixture of business students and non-business students. Iterative processes of product development utilizing scientific method are to be the central themes of the faculty of the bob-business areas who teach this class. Involvement of the faculty from the School of Business Administration will be supportive of the students efforts as they refine the business plans for the products. Business students may be allowed to use this course to satisfy the requirements for laboratory science (due to the iterative nature of the processes emphasizing scientific methods) or non-business electives in the business curriculum. Outcomes of this class include development of prototypes of products and services capable of generating patents and copyrights. Development of prototypes and filing for patents and copyrights by students would be encouraged. The eventual outcome would be intellectual property owned by the students on the team.
The fourth course, another technical elective, would be a capstone course for both business and non-business students. In this course, the final preparations for starting a business would be made. In projects developed within an existing business, plans would be initiated by the team to integrate the process within the organization. From a business standpoint, careful consideration would be devoted to competition, marketing, financing, management, and legal consequences. From a technical standpoint, students would examine the effectiveness, efficiency, and cost of the new product, process, or service. Non-business students would also emphasize implementation of the manufacture of the product, process, or service. As in previous courses, team teaching and student teams would be the main emphasis. Due to accreditation requirements, students would register for classes in their respective schools; but they would be graded on their performance in the teams. Investment by donors and supporters of the program would be encouraged within a system that would encourage full or partial ownership of the patents and copyrights by students.
Involvement of executives from organizations would be encouraged with the teams in both the third and fourth courses. As a final inducement for students to participate in the entire program, this fourth course may count as much as six semester hours; but successful completion of the other three courses would be a prerequisite. Within the School of Business Administration, some of the courses may count as substitutes for Business Policy(Management 490). Another inducement might be the addition of a “certificate” or “minor” being reported on the student’s transcript noting completion of the program.
The overall objectives of the program would be for student teams to:
- 1)educate University students from business and non-business in innovation and invention from within existing businesses and in startup business situations,
- 2)develop entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial (entrepreneurial efforts within existing organizations) skills and techniques necessary to recognize problems, and develop and carry out realistic solutions to those problems, and
- 3)discover and understand what does and does not work in today’s global competitive marketplace.
Current Status of the Curriculum
The management curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to assume entry level management positions and progress in the management profession. The general management concentration is designed for those students who desire a broad introduction to the field of management. Those students wishing a more directed study in a specific area of management may choose one of the other concentrations listed below.
Common Management Core:
- Mgt 303- Organizational Behavior and Theory …….3
- Mgt 320- Advanced Statistics for Managers ……. 3
- Mgt 350- Personnel Administration ……. 3
- Acct 311- Managerial Accounting or Acct 321- Cost Accounting ……3
- Upper Division Business Electives (or Concentration as outlined below ) ……6
- TOTAL HOURS IN MANAGEMENT CORE ……..18
- CONCENTRATIONS (See Below) …….. 18
- TOTAL HOURS REQUIRED IN MANAGEMENT MAJOR …….36
Entrepreneurship is one of the few remaining opportunities for personal wealth and career fulfillment available in business today. These opportunities come from starting a business, being part of an emerging business, or by participating in an entrepreneurial venture in a mature organization. The concentration in entrepreneurship prepares graduates to recognize and take advantage of such opportunities. the requirements for the Entrepreneurship Concentration are:
- Mgt 305- Creativity and Innovation……. 3
- Mgt 306- Entrepreneurship ……. 3
- Mktg 302- Personal Selling …….. 3
- Technical Electives …….6
- Free Elective ……. 3
- TOTAL …….18
* The technical electives, when combined with the business courses, present an opportunity for students in the entrepreneurship concentration to develop depth of knowledge in a technical area. The students will be expected to work in teams of business and non-business students in these courses. The work will be directed toward developing products, services, and detailed business plans for products. The eventual outcome of these courses will be to explore the viability of using the results to start a business or improve a process. The technical electives are l selected with advice, guidance, and approval of the student’s business advisor.
Minor in Entrepreneurship
Some entrepreneurial efforts require information from diverse sources. To encourage non-business students to bring their expertise to the entrepreneurial studies, a minor in entrepreneurship is available within the School of Business Administration. This minor is designed to give students exposure to entrepreneurial ideas within business and to integrate this exposure with their non-business studies. Students completing a minor in entrepreneurship may not earn more than 25 percent of their total course requirements in the School of Business Administration. The minor consists of:
- Acct 300 or Acct 201-202……. 3 (or 6)
- Mgt 305- Creativity and Innovation ……. 3
- Mgt 306- Entrepreneurship …….3
- Mktg 302- Personal Selling ……. 3
- Technical Electives * ……. 6
- TOTAL ……..18 (or 21)
* The technical electives are the same courses mentioned above.
Certificate of Entrepreneurship
Students majoring in technical studies, such as engineering and agriculture, are encouraged to participate in entrepreneurial studies by completing the requirements for the Certificate of Entrepreneurship. This program is designed to help students develop and entrepreneurial attitude of being open to change, developing new ideas, and going beyond the limitations of existing paradigms. The blend of tools, skills and attitude equips the graduates to organize and manage new ventures. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship can be earned by any students who complete the following 15 hours of course work:
- Mktg 302- Personal Selling of AgEc 345 ……. 3
- Mgt 305- Creativity and Innovation ……. 3
- Mgt 306- Entrepreneurship ……. 3
- Technical Electives* …… 6
- TOTAL ……. 15
*The technical electives are the same courses mentioned above.
Proposed Syllabus for Management 305 during Fall, 1998
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT MARTIN
Course Number and Title: Management 305 Innovation and Creativity
Course Description: Intensive practice in the use of contemporary approaches to the creative process, including use of proven aids for developing innovative ideas. The generation of creative designs of products, processes, and services with emphasis on commercial applications is stressed.
Course Prerequisites: Junior Standing.
Course Text: Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono
How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
Course Learning Objectives:
- 1. Develop and utilize creative and innovative abilities needed for decision-making including conceptual and quantitative data analysis.
- 2. In the topics of creativity and innovation, develop and refine the ability to communicate ideas and conclusions verbally and in written form.
- 3. Develop ability to lead class discussions designed to produce comprehension and consensus with respect to strategic business policy decisions.
- 1. Individual students are responsible for meeting prerequisites, requirements, and objectives. Faculty are to provide quality instruction, leadership, and support student academic efforts.
- 2. Use of personal computers is often required to write assignments.
- 3. All assignments are due on the date specified by the course instructor. Late assignments may be graded by the professor, but these assignments will count for a grade of zero.
- 4. Strict compliance with course prerequisites is required.
Instructor: Tommy Cates
Office Hours: 8:00-9:00, 11:00-12:00 MWF, 1:00-3:00 MW and other times by appointment
Office Phone: 587-7307
Office: Room 213 Business Building
Class Procedures and Requirements:
- 1. Assignments indicated below reflect the plan for presentation of course materials and will be followed as closely as circumstances permit. Adjustments may, however, be made from time to time by class announcement. Each student is responsible for compliance with all announced adjustments.
- 2. My attendance policy is that all students are required to attend all classed. Student participation and interaction is important and needed to achieve course objectives at the levels expected.
- 3. Course Grading criteria is based on the following: written assignments within groups (50%), written examinations (30%), and in-class participation (20%). There will be three assignments. Grades will be assigned based on 100-89=A, 89.44-79.45=B.etc.
- 4. All assignments are to be submitted typed (typewriter or word processor), the length assigned, when due, and in the format determined in class.
- 5. Each day students will be expected to discuss the information which has been assigned.
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