I returned from a three-week car trip to the news that Professor Welsh’s application for a renewal of UNCG’s Coleman Foundation grant was successful and that I am one of the new Coleman Fellows on campus. According to the web site the Coleman Faculty Fellows
are typically professors from outside the school of business at their institution. They engage in the development of courses and leadership of projects in support of entrepreneurship education on their campus, inspiring students in non-business disciplines to gain self-employment skills and experience.
This is exciting but also a little scary.
My ENT class
Last spring Professor Welsh and I decided that my proposed Coleman Fellow course would be a 500-level (graduate and advanced undergraduate) class called “Research Sources & Strategies for Entrepreneurs & Economic Development.” A description of that proposed class was part of the renewal application for the Coleman grant:
Students will learn how to conduct the research necessarily to make the best-informed decisions for an entrepreneurial venture or to measure and assess economic development opportunities. Topics will include how to benchmark the financials of private companies, identify competitors, evaluate the size and nature of industries, consumer markets, and business-to-business markets, and analyze trade data, among other topics. The students will undertake a research project based on an entrepreneurial or economic development idea of their choosing.
The Geography and Library & Information Studies departments are tentatively on board with cross-listing this class but want to review my syllabus before making that official. This would be the first ENT cross-listing for both departments; 20 departments on campus already have at least one ENT cross-listing. Professor Welsh told me that several art professors liked the idea of my proposed class and would encourage their arts entrepreneurship students to consider taking it. The class will be offered in winter 2014 and I’ll begin working on the syllabus soon.
Excitement tempered with concern
I’m looking forward to being an official teacher of a three-credit class again but am a little worried about the workload. I will be teaching this class on my own time on top of my normal work load and schedule, as per the policy of library administration regarding teaching credit classes. (I should blog my thoughts on that policy sometime.) However it can be challenging to separate some aspects of teaching a research class from my day job work. Answering questions from students and entertaining drop-in consultations during the workday are examples. And you can’t separate how teaching a class like this will improve my teaching, research support, and outreach work as the local business librarian. My colleague Lynda Kellam already deals with some of these issues for the Political Science class (PSC 240: The International System) she now teaches each fall and spring semester as an adjunct member of the Poli Sci faculty.
I taught the library science business information sources and services class (LIS 613) a couple of times around seven years ago and received good student evaluations but decided I didn’t like grading and wanted more personal time back. So we’ll see if I feel differently this time with my ENT 5xx class.
Other Coleman Fellow requirements
Besides creating and teaching an interdisciplinary class, the Coleman Fellows also are required to participate in learning and networking opportunities. One is an annual conference (Chicago in late October) which includes a day-long Fellows Summit for the new fellows.
Also required are monthly small-group webinar meetings from August to May led by a veteran fellow. Each small group “produces deliverables separate and apart from Fellow’s course development obligations.” (I have no idea what those deliverables might be like.) Other online meetings with all the fellows happen a few times a year too.
Since she delivered the good news Professor Welsh has already put me to work. Yesterday I met with a delegation of deans and faculty from Stetson University visiting UNCG to learn about our Entrepreneurship program; I discussed the value of the library and library support to an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program. The Stetson folks were intrigued to hear about my involvement with the feasibility class. It was extra helpful to have two current ENT students there who spoke up about their use of IBIS, SimplyMap and other tools to help them make data-driven decisions. Warm fuzzies all around.