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Faculty discuss bringing entrepreneurship into the classroom

By : Rachel Coker

Faculty members gathered last week for a workshop focused on the new Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum initiative. They discussed ways to bring ideas about innovation into the classroom as well as resources available to instructors.

Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum, or EXC, will begin next school year with several courses that have been re-tooled to incorporate themes of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“This program is not supposed to teach you about becoming an entrepreneur,” said Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president for Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships. “It’s supposed to help you see how entrepreneurship can become a part of what you are doing. There is a place for entrepreneurship in any field.”

Krentsel’s office and the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP) are spearheading the program.

Three faculty members have been chosen for $1,000 EXC grants to support their work on course revisions. Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari, dean of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, will create an Entrepreneurship Across Engineering module that can be incorporated into senior-level and graduate courses ranging from Enterprise Systems Engineering to Systems Design, Health Systems and Supply Chain Management. David Campbell in the Department of Public Administration plans to revise Introduction to Nonprofit Management and Leadership to include more content related to social entrepreneurship. Carolyn Pierce in the Decker School of Nursing will create a class focused on complexity science as a tool to develop innovative health-care provider roles.

All three spoke during the workshop and took questions from other faculty who are considering making proposals for the next round of funding. Angelo Mastrangelo, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Management and the former owner and chief executive officer of Adirondack Beverages, also joined in the conversation.

Srihari said that an entrepreneurial spirit is not a luxury; it is something we absolutely need to have in both faculty and students. While he cited famous entrepreneurs such as Sam Walton and Bill Gates in his presentation, Srihari said one needs look no farther than the Vestal Parkway to find good examples of entrepreneurs at work.

Pierce invited the workshop participants to think about Florence Nightingale’s contributions and think of her as an early social entrepreneur, someone who recognized a social problem and used principles of entrepreneurship to design, create and manage a venture to make a social change.

“I love to say that nurses are at the sharp end of the care,” she said. “Nurses know what the needs are. We understand how to work on multiple problems at once and we understand there are multiple answers to problems.”

Get involved

Faculty members are invited to submit proposals for courses to be designed or revised in keeping with the goals of Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum. Winning faculty members will each receive $1,000. Proposals are due June 15. For details, visit


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Last Updated: 10/14/08