Four professors to incorporate entrepreneurship into courses
September 7, 2011Tweet
The next series of classes in Binghamton’s Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum program could result in a better student film festival; new ideas about Greater Binghamton economic development; social media campaigns targeting local consumers; and even revolutionary healthcare technology.
Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum, or ExC, is part of an ongoing effort to incorporate entrepreneurship into the curriculum at Binghamton. The program encourages faculty members to create or modify a course in such a way that a substantial amount of time is devoted to entrepreneurship. Instructors receive a $1,000 grant to support their work on curriculum revisions.
Pamela Gay, associate professor of English; Leann Lesperance, assistant professor of bioengineering; Tomonari Nishikawa, visiting assistant professor of cinema; and Thomas Sinclair, associate professor of public administration, submitted winning proposals in the program’s most recent round of funding, said Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships.
“We are very impressed with the breadth of new and modified courses from disciplines that have not been traditionally viewed as related to entrepreneurship,” Krentsel said. “That is exactly what we were hoping to achieve — tapping into creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of our faculty members.”
Gay plans to revise an undergraduate course titled Re-reading Consumer Culture, generally offered each spring. The class, which addresses questions about America’s obsession with shopping as well as environmental concerns related to consumer culture, will include a collaborative entrepreneurial project. Students will identify a consumer culture-related social problem and use principles of entrepreneurship to design, create and manage a venture to make a change. Gay also challenges them
to reach fellow students with an opportunity for action using social media.
Lesperance will redesign a graduate-level course titled Medical Engineering and Healthcare, which is offered each spring. She notes that many graduate students in bioengineering are interested in creating health-related products, processes or systems. These students need to understand the engineering principles involved in effective design as well as the complexities of today’s healthcare system.
Lesperance plans to pair students with area clinicians, providing an opportunity for students to observe the technologies used by the clinician. Students will later create a proposal for developing a technology or an improvement on an existing technology that would aid the clinician.
“This hands-on learning experience will give all students better insight into the technology development process than if they had simply studied someone else’s work,” Lesperance said.
Nishikawa plans to revise an undergraduate course, Curating Film and Video, that was first offered in fall 2010. The course introduces students to the strategies and methods required when curating a film festival. Last year, students staged SEFF Binghamton: Student Experimental Film Festival in Binghamton in addition to working on their own curatorial projects. As the class gains a new entrepreneurial focus, Nishikawa will push the students to devise ways of boosting entries as well as the size of the audience. They will also work to secure additional sponsors for the next film festival.
Sinclair will create a graduate-level course, Emerging Issues in Local Government Management, to be offered next spring for the first time. Students will learn entrepreneurial management skills and apply them in the service area of local economic development. Guest speakers from the community will familiarize students with the network of economic development institutions in Broome County and the resources and services they provide.
Once students begin to understand the factors that contribute to economic growth and development, they will be challenged to apply their conceptual knowledge to a current development issue in the region. He already sees several potential candidates for a semester-long case study project, including assessing how local governments can and should prepare for the development of the natural gas industry in the Southern Tier; evaluating the implementation of the BC Plan; and exploring how local arts organizations and business establishments sustain their development and how local governments support them.
“We will approach economic development from a grassroots perspective,” Sinclair said, “which will open up opportunities for discussion about micro-financing, alternative approaches such as those presented by the Creative Class, and the integration of new groups of entrepreneurs such as immigrants into a regional economy.”