This is the last week of presentations in my two co-teaching classes, a sign that the semester is beginning to wind down. There was a new situation in one of the classes that would have made another good story for my recent “relationships and ethics of co-teaching” book chapter. Maybe I’ll blog on that once I get caught up with these other updates.
Two weeks after the NCLA conference, I flew to Chicago for the Coleman Fellows Summit and the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) National Conference in McCormick Place. McCormick seemed even more massive without all the ALA Annual Conference librarians strolling around. The first night was cold and rainy, so I got my steps walking through the four massive buildings until the lights starting going out and the cleaners began giving me funny looks.
The Fellows Summit was on Halloween. I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that I would probably be the only librarian there. I assumed the training would focus on developing our skills as teachers of entrepreneurship. Five other UNCG folks would be there.
After a hearty buffet breakfast, around fifty to sixty new Coleman Fellows, “e-baristas” (experienced Coleman Fellows serving as mentors), and campus entrepreneurship program directors were seated at round tables in a ballroom. Our table assignments were based on communities of interest, including fine arts & design, engineering, natural science, performing arts, and information technology. I was assigned the “Social Science, Humanities, and Business” team. (We thought our name was uninspiring and changed it later.)
My fellow new Coleman Fellows from UNCG, Bill Johnson and Cathy Hamilton, were also assigned to this group. Bill is the Student Success Coordinator for our School of Health and Human Sciences; he also is a “dream coach,” the basis of his upcoming Coleman class at UNCG. The previous week, the Gates Foundation flew Bill out to Seattle as one of only nine folks in the U.S. invited to present at the Momentum Advising Challenge. Bill pitched his “Make College Matter” program to the Gates folks.
Cathy is director of our Leadership & Service-Learning department. She provides leadership with service-learning and civic engagement for the entire campus. (Service learning and civic engagement are now areas of emphasis for the whole UNC system.) Cathy’s Coleman class will focus on the role of leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation, with an emphasis on social entrepreneurship. One could have been intimidated by having such interesting and accomplished peers, but Bill and Cathy are super-nice and we had a great time networking and sharing Chicagoland adventures and meals. So all three of the new UNCG fellows come from non-traditional positions for teachers (although Cathy does have a PhD).
Also at the training from UNCG was Dianne Welsh (our Entrepreneurship director and teacher of the required ENT 300 Feasibility Analysis class I help teach), Esra Memeli (assistant director and also a professor of Entrepreneurship – Esra teaches ENT 336, the Business Plan, the required follow-up class to ENT 300), and Stoel Burrowes (faculty member in the Interior Architecture department, specializing in “design as process and exploration” and furniture design). Stoel is an e-barista for the Coleman design team.
Esra joined Bill, Cathy, and me at the same table. Also at our table were a professor of Gaming from Colorado, and a professor of Fashion Merchandising from CSU-Fresno. That prof earned her PhD from the UNCG CARS program a while ago, and after introductions we remembered each other from those years. Small academic world.
Our team also included professors of Social Work, Economics, Education, and Anthropology. An interesting mix.
After the breakfast dishes were cleared away, we got to work. Or at least to the opening presentations. One regarded the origins of the Coleman Foundation and its record of giving to entrepreneurship education. The Coleman staff emphasized the need for educators to “teach students how to create their jobs, not just to get jobs”. UNCG’s large cross-campus entrepreneurship program relies heavily on Coleman funding, and so we remain grateful for its support.
After the preliminaries, we engaged in a Peter Drucker “Innovation Workshop” using proprietary materials from the Drucker Institute at Claremont College. The 1985 Innovation and Entrepreneurship was Drucker’s core entrepreneurship-related book. Given his consulting work with large organizations, much of the training seems geared toward middle- or upper-management at established companies as opposed to self-employment opportunities. But many of the core principles were applicable, especially to those fellows teaching an “Introduction to Entrepreneurship Experience” type course (not so much to my ENT 530 class). We also bonded through a tower-building competition using dry spaghetti, masking tape, and a single marshmallow.
After lunch our community of interest group had time to work on our COE name, identification statement, and WebEx schedule for spring semester peer-training. We decided to change our name to the “Blended Fellows Forum.” Our statement is “an innovative group of professionals connecting the students and campus community to diverse, interdisciplinary entrepreneurial experiences, leading to meaningful action.” The three WebEx topics will be 1. Resource sharing, 2. Innovative pedagogy and 3. Research projects involving students. Making those decisions took some time but we enjoyed the discussion and collaboration.
The summit concluded with a nice reception in a room that actually had windows. I chatted with some of the design profs for a while before Bill, Stoel, and I went out exploring the neighborhood.
I was indeed the only librarian in the summit, but I never heard any surprised or negative reactions to my status as a Coleman Fellow librarian. To the contrary, some of the profs complimented the skills of librarians. By the end of the day, I would have liked to have more time for the fellows to discuss their classes and learn from each other’s experiences. But some of that sharing will come in our BFF webinars.
The CEO National Conference began the next day – my first non-library conference. A very different experience, which I will write about soon.