‘Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum’ seeks proposals
November 12, 2012Tweet
Ankesh Arora knows first-hand about the impact that entrepreneurship in the classroom can make.
“Faculty is the missing link that will help students execute their ideas,” said Arora, who received his bachelor’s degree in bioengineering in 2009, and a master’s degree in 2011, in industrial and systems engineering. “Students need guidance – and faculty members have the experience. They need to connect for entrepreneurship to be successful at Binghamton University.”
Arora is familiar with success: He is the co-founder of Mobile Universal, a New York City-based company started in early 2012 that helps people and businesses develop their own mobile applications that are featured in the Apple Store or Android Market. Arora and co-founder Zia Siddiqi ’10 originally began working out of a start-up suite in the Innovative Technologies Complex as a campus-marketing company after Arora’s senior design project emphasized entrepreneurship in bioengineering.
“That really got me interested in starting my own company,” Arora said. “The University is providing all sorts of resources. They just need to instill the knowledge of entrepreneurship in students so they will be able to use those resources.”
Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president for entrepreneurship and innovative partnerships, has spent more than four years working to ensure that entrepreneurial knowledge is a priority at Binghamton University. The Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum (ExC) program is now making its fourth call for proposals from faculty members. The program, a partnership with the New York State Center of Excellence, offers $1,000 awards to faculty to significantly revise an existing course to include an entrepreneurship-related component, or to include a significant entrepreneurial component in a new course being developed.
Faculty from all academic disciplines are invited to submit 2013 proposals, which are due at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. The ExC Steering Committee will review the proposals, and up to five successful applicants will be notified by Dec. 14.
“Creativity comes from all over,” Krentsel said. “The mix of people from business, arts sciences, life sciences, engineering, arts, cinema, public administration and sociology is incredibly powerful. We need to project that to our students and train them to be more entrepreneurial and well-rounded.”
Chief of Staff Terry Deak, who chairs the ExC committee, said that institutions such as Binghamton University are “uniquely positioned to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.”
“This (program) is a wonderful way to bring creativity and innovation in and get them to move in track with the sciences and technology,” Deak said. “All of that together creates a forward momentum and a synergy of ideas that are exceptional for students.
ExC is about “infusing and planting the seeds of cultural change,” Deak told faculty members at a workshop in October in which past ExC award recipients – professors Pamela Gay, Thomas Sinclair, Tomonari Nishikawa and George Catalano – discussed their classes and experiences.
“Throughout the program, you serve as emissaries for entrepreneurship – both with your colleagues and your students,” Deak told the workshop participants. “As we plant those seeds and they start to grow, we become a more innovative university.”
For Arora, entrepreneurship is not an occupation or a profession.
“Entrepreneurship is a mindset,” he said. “If we weren’t looking for opportunities, we wouldn’t have known about how the mobile industry was exploding. … Chance favors a trained mind. That opportunity is going to come to you only if your mind is trained to look for it.”
Arora urged faculty members to consider becoming partners with students in start-ups, and he added that it is now “a level playing field” for students with ideas, thanks to online information.
Krentsel stressed that people can be entrepreneurial in any discipline or endeavor – from starting a manufacturing business to running an art gallery. But it is also important to look at the broader aspects of entrepreneurship.
“It’s not about making money and it’s not even about creating jobs,” he said. “It’s about making people’s lives better through research, scholarship and creativity. In order to do that, we need to be open-minded and go across the disciplines.”
For more information about Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum, go to http://research.binghamton.edu/Innovation/exc.php.