New Entrepreneurial Studies Minor

by Andrew Wickenden ’09

This fall, a new academic minor in Entrepreneurial Studies will be launched to further expand the atmosphere of innovation and leadership learning already flourishing at the Colleges.

“Entrepreneurship always appealed to me as a way to help students figure out how to change the world,” says Professor of Economics Tom Drennen, who will serve as chair of the new program. “We want to give students the confidence to think outside the box, to generate transformative ideas and have the skills to put them into action. This past semester a student came to me with a great idea for a desalination system to provide clean, fresh water to countries where it isn’t readily available. This new academic program will empower students who have these great ideas with the tools they need to make these dreams come alive.”

By leveraging the analytical and critical thinking skills of a liberal arts education, the Entrepreneurial Studies curriculum will provide students with the conceptual understanding, practical skills and ethical structure necessary for business or civic leadership. The Entrepreneurial Studies curriculum will develop students as leaders for the 21st century, as powerful agents of change within existing organizations, and as global citizens capable of creating new nonprofit or for-profit enterprises.

With the introductory course “Leadership” available for students this fall, the new minor is set to graduate its first cohort in 2018. Students will take three required courses, at least one ethics class, and two electives from two different departments. Finally, through the capstone project, students will develop and possibly launch a product, service, or organization (for-profit or nonprofit).

“Importantly, the new minor will integrate existing programming at the Centennial Center for Leadership with the academic curriculum,” explains Drennen. “The popularity and impact of Centennial Center programs like The Pitch competition and the IdeaLab have proven that there’s a demand on the part of students to participate in Entrepreneurial Studies and the interest of faculty and alums to assist.”

Drennen and others are working now to develop three areas of vital growth to the new minor: space (Drennen envisions an incubator space in Geneva’s downtown district where students can collaborate, create and consult), programmatic support and mentor participation from HWS graduates, parents, and trustees.

The Fund for Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiatives, established through the Scandling Trust (see page 20), will enable the Colleges to further their strategic focus on entrepreneurial leadership programming. It will also fund the creation of a suite of co-curricular programs alongside the Entrepreneurial Studies minor that value exploration, risk, collaboration and innovation, and that prepare students for careers in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

“This academic program is an important addition to the Colleges’ innovative leadership and entrepreneurship curriculum,” says Provost and Dean of Faculty Dr. Titilayo Ufomata. “It sets our graduates apart, not only as leaders but as leaders who can approach challenging issues with creativity and insight. We hope that the passion our faculty, students, staff and alums have brought to the Centennial Center for Leadership programming will be strengthened by the enthusiasm and support of our entire academic community.”

Students enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Studies minor will:

  • Develop knowledge of multiple genres of entrepreneurship
  • Develop and demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical foundation necessary for entrepreneurial leadership across multiple disciplines
  • Develop and demonstrate ethical decision making skills
  • Understand the challenges in the social, economic and global environment and demonstrate entrepreneurial leadership skills to address those challenges
  • Demonstrate the ability to construct a basic strategic plan for a product, service or organization
  • Learn and demonstrate communication skills through public presentations and other opportunities
  • Develop basic competencies in accounting, statistical analysis and Excel

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.