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Archive for the ‘Coleman Fellow’ Category

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

Business librarians Mary Scanlon (Wake Forest University), Diane Campbell (Rider University), and I attended and presented at USASBE 2017 last week in Philadelphia. Diane has presented at this conference before, but this was the first visit for Mary and me. I’m going to submit a detailed conference review for Ticker but will provide a short summary and a quick assessment here.

USASBE is the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship:

the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship. With over 1000 members from universities and colleges, for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector, USASBE is a diverse mix of professionals that share a common commitment to fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors. [introduction to USASBE]

But mostly entrepreneurship faculty. Around 500 attended. I heard there is higher attendance in even-numbered years, when USASBE meets in southern California (San Diego last February, L.A. next year). Preconferences met on Wednesday, with the main conference running Thursday afternoon through Sunday at noon. Yes, the same days as ALA Midwinter in Atlanta.

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Registration was $675 (early bird – full cost was $750), higher than any library or business educator conference I’ve been too, but includes membership in the association for a year. We met in the Loews Hotel on Market Street, between City Hall and Independence Park. Always convenient to stay in the same building for a conference — until you really need to get outside for some fresh air and walking. There really wasn’t any sun that weekend but it wasn’t very cold.

The three librarians provided a 75-minute “competitive workshop” titled “Teaching students to use authoritative industry and market datasets in order to make informed decisions in their business plans”. We discussed both free sources (Economic Census, American Community Survey, and Consumer Expenditure Survey) and subscription databases while also leading discussions on how to get students to use such data.

I also participated in a workshop by the UNCG Coleman Fellows on “Beyond the basics of cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship: reaching across the curriculum with mentoring, counseling, research support, and assessment.” I spoke about how a business librarian has the freedom to support entrepreneurship classes across campus (not just in the business school) through research workshops and consultations, and also briefly summarized my research class, ENT/GEO/LIS/MKT 530.

And right after the librarians’ workshop, Diane presented with a Rider professor on “Experiential learning with non-profit organizations: how to use the student team consulting model for service learning situations.” Unfortunately Mary and I missed the Rider workshop due to our return flight schedule.

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

As with SBI [my recent Ticker conference review on SBI] and World Bank/GWU Entrepreneurship 2016, the faculty at this conference seemed genuinely pleased to have librarians present. The profs often complimented the roles and work or their own business librarians. (Good job, friends!) We librarians enjoyed the networking and the opportunities to provide comments to the faculty and PhD students on research sources and strategies. And some nice socials.

USASBE was very interesting for its variety of types of programs. This made the “call for submissions” document rather complicated. Interesting that educator conferences like USASBE and SBI don’t require “learning outcomes” for conference submissions unlike LOEX and ACRL, a silly submissions requirement in my opinion. On the other hand, competitive workshop submissions require proposals that could be up to 10 pages long. So it was a lot of work to submit for the librarians’ and Coleman Fellows’ workshops.

I made a point to attend most of these program types:

  • Competitive Papers (short solo presentations on research, teaching, or program design)
  • Teaching Cases (presentations of case studies used in the classroom)
  • Developmental Papers (roundtable feedback on research in progress)
  • Competitive Workshops (interactive panel discussions, mostly)
  • Rocket Workshops (short workshops)
  • Experiential Exercises (classroom exercises)
  • Student Pitches (from Philly-area schools, with several rounds of voting throughout the conference)
  • Exhibitor Sessions (mostly from entrepreneurship educational software vendors)

Sage, Emerald, Business Expert Press, and a couple of other publishers had tables. The reps on hand were editors and content recruiters, not sales staff.

Philly moth from a social event

Philly moth from a social event

USASBE provided several socials, including one Thursday night at the Drexel Academy of Natural Sciences, where these butterflies and moths live. Some of the attendees participated in the women’s march on Saturday. I hadn’t been to Philly since ALA Midwinter 2002, back when I served on the BRASS Education committee. That January, Independence Hall was surrounded by several concentric walls of fencing and concrete barriers after the 9/11 attacks. Mary and I visited the hall on Thursday and enjoyed its liberation from all that security. I also visited the National Museum of American Jewish History (new to me) and found it very interesting but also full of sad stories and concerns on anti-Semitism and anti-immigration that still resonate in our political climate.

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

On our way back to the airport, Mary and I discussed how useful this conference was to us personally. Of course we will get presentation credits for our CVs (and not just speaking to the librarian choir), but we didn’t really learn things that we could apply to our research classes. However, wearing my Coleman Fellow and embedded librarian hats, I did benefit from the discussions of teaching strategies and program design. And I gained more insight into the teaching and research needs of professors. So I really liked USASBE and (assuming our Coleman grant gets renewed) will consider attending at L.A. in 2018. Hmm maybe L.A. librarian Nataly Blas would consider submitting a proposal with me…

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Beginning of the conference

Beginning of the conference

The official name of this conference is the GW October Annual Entrepreneurship Conference, http://gwoctober.com/. It is hosted by the World Bank Group and the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) in D.C. The 2016 theme was “Promoting SMEs to drive growth.” I attended using Coleman travel funds. Registration wasn’t expensive, but man, the hotel rates in the Foggy Bottom area!

It really seemed like two different one-day conferences on adjacent days. Day one was last Thursday and consisted of short talks and discussion panels on public policy issues at the World Bank, a few blocks from the White House. There was also a long networking lunch. The speakers were a diverse group of federal government and NGO higher-ups from around the world. 150-200 folks attended, representing 16 countries. About a quarter of attendees where international students from GWU. Almost all the men wore dress coats and tie and the women dress suits. Sitting at my table most of the day were two Swedish academics, three Egyptian academics and NGO officers, and a U.S. SBA representative (born in Nigeria).

Day two was Friday and consisted of papers and workshops by mostly professors in the GWU business school. Attendance was small, maybe 30-40 people. There were three time blocks, each with four concurrent sessions to choose from. The evening ended with an ICSM dinner and awards ceremony (which I didn’t attend). So a very different flavor from day one.

This was my first overnight visit to D.C. since working a 5-week internship at the Smithsonian the summer before beginning college (many years ago!). We stayed at a small GWU dormitory not far from this conference’s two locations. So I enjoyed some nostalgia (also perhaps because I had a birthday the day before the flight up). I wasn’t able to visit the brand-new African American History and Culture museum, due to the high demand for the timed entry tickets, but did make time to visit the newish National Museum of the American Indian.

Here are some notes from some of the more interesting programs I attended, plus notes from networking lunches with U.S. Census officials and a GWU librarian friend.

At the World Bank:

World Bank from Pennsylvania Avenue

World Bank from Pennsylvania Avenue

“The State of SME Policies and Support Programs”

Description: According to estimates, 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 15 years to absorb the growing global workforce, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This panel will address the targets set by governments for SME policy development and help identify strategic priorities for improving business environments. The progress of SMEs is key towards narrowing the development gap.

  • Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration
  • Moderator: Luca Iandoli, President of International Council for Small Business (ICSB)

Contreras-Sweet opened the conference with an overview of the importance of SMEs to the world economy. She was an excellent speaker and also briefly related her life story. She entered the U.S. from Mexico as a five-year old girl in an extended migrant family. Her family (especially her grandmother) pushed her hard to do well in school, and she ended up founding a bank and a philanthropic organization before joining President Obama’s cabinet.

Beginning of the conference

Opening panel

Contreras-Sweet described entrepreneurship as the “most powerful force for people to lift themselves out of poverty.” She has been promoting the creating of SBA-type agencies in other countries, with the support of the Kauffman Foundation. There will be a big international small business promotion conference in South Africa partially supported by the SBA.

Anabel Gonzalez, one of several World Bank officials on the program this day, spoke on how “promoting small businesses is essential to ending poverty & increasing shared prosperity.”

Luca Iandoli (a professor from Naples) moderated a discussion with those two speakers and also took questions from the audience and online listeners. He began by displaying a 2012 MIT Technology Review cover of moon-walker Buzz Armstrong lamenting: “You promised me Mars colonies; instead I got Facebook”. Iandoli noted that the IT revolution has not helped much with job creation and income growth, showing some stats on revenue-per-employee ratios for major IT companies compared to manufacturing companies like Ford Motor. He posed the question “So can SMEs benefit from innovation trends? Or will the income gap increase even more?” It was an interesting discussion that touched on the tax advantages enjoyed by multinational but unavailable for SMEs, the increasing digital divide especially when you compare richer countries to poorer countries, and other topics. The panel steered into ethical aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship (which reminded of Ilana Stonebraker’s recent post), and how the SBA has started to track the involvement of women, minorities, and veterans in SBA loans and other services. Women entrepreneurs proved to be a hot topic for the audience, and my SBA neighbor at our table discussed this over the coffee break.

“SME Policy Design and Evaluation: Insights from Research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation”

Description: Despite significant advances in the measurement and analysis of entrepreneurial activity, cross-country comparisons remain notably difficult. This panel will address the intersection of data and policy, and discuss how research can contribute to the design of national policy interventions as well as enable assessment of progress toward objectives.

  • Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Senior Economic Advisor, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Winslow Sargeant, ICSB Vice President of Data and Policy [and SBA official]
  • Moderator: Ayman El Tarabishy, Associate Professor at George Washington University and Executive Director of ICSB
Mary Hallward-Driemeier

Mary Hallward-Driemeier

Ah, then we got into some data. Well, just a little. Mary Hallward-Driemeier discussed the data collection the World Bank is trying to collect to assist its efforts to promote SME growth. She listed six thematic areas as priorities for trade and competitiveness (see the picture). These themes may help loaning organizations define and measure the success of its loans to SMEs. She also encouraged support organizations to be “gender informed” and look where women can disproportionately benefit: transportation issues; having broader definitions of collateral; and encouraging specific industrial sectors.

Winslow Sargeant

Winslow Sargeant

Winslow Sargeant was an engineering professor and Kauffmann professor, but now works in the SBA Office of Advocacy. Given his engineering background, he enjoyed discussing U.S. patent history but then used statistics to show the importance of small business to the US economy. He made the important distinction between small companies and nonemployers. I liked that because we discuss those important distinctions – and the different Census datasets involved – in my 530 class. Sargeant noted that most online sales are made by large companies, not SMEs, continuing the concerns that the social media revolution has been overhyped in terms of benefits to SMEs. He expressed concerns that the number of patents issues in the U.S. is falling compared to some other countries (as a percentage I think – my notes aren’t clear, sorry) but that U.S. immigrants continue to have a disproportionate positive impact on entrepreneurship, job creation, and patent submissions

Networking lunch with Census folks

There were a dozen themed tables for lunch discussions. I considered sitting at the social entrepreneurship table but decided to talk shop with the Census folks. Bárbara Zamora-Appel (Program Analyst), Philip Thompson (Special Projects and Outreach Coordinator), and Andrew Hait (Survey Statistician and leader of the Census Business Builder project) were there. I think those three were happy to have a business librarian present, although a couple of NGO types stopped by to ask questions.

Barbara had interesting insights into the tradition of Census racial categories, comparing them to an even more complex array of categories (20 total) used in her native Guatemala. We wondered if the younger U.S. generations are rebelling from the standard U.S. demographic variables involving race and Hispanic/Latino status. (I mentioned recent discussions with students on Census terminology). Barbara noted that the OMB maintains racial/ethnicity and country of origin terminology used by the Census – I didn’t know that.

Philip recently attended a business educators’ conference in Atlanta and wondered if I had advice on how to reach college students and also faculty on the value of Census data for population and industry research. Too many students don’t know where most U.S. demographic and industry data come from, he lamented. We talked about the need for business faculty to set clear expectations for research in their classes, and for librarians to be involved in the research classes. (Mary Scanlon, Diane Campbell, and I hope to lead a workshop on the expectations part at USASBE next semester.)

Andrew discussed his efforts to link related business, industry, and demographic data through the Census Business Builder, allowing users to find useful data they might not have known to exist. Such linkages would vary by industrial sector and might also include relevant trade data trends. Andrew would like to add short, practical case studies of how an entrepreneur or SME owner successfully used the Business Builder. These stories would help demonstrate the value of the tool and show off the diversity of data that could be applied to a business idea. I promised I would get back to him on this, although maybe an email to BUSLIB would be a better strategy to collect examples…

My notes after lunch were more limited, so let’s jump ahead to Friday morning at GWU and wrap up this already long post. The Friday conference didn’t begin until 10:30, a late start IMO.

At GWU

“College and Community Partnerships: The Development of an Entrepreneurial Program to Support Economic Development”

Kathleen Burke (Professor of Economics) of SUNY Cortland lamented the loss of many small business in upstate and rural New York. Many of the 64 SUNY campuses provide the main economic activity in their small towns, including Cortland. Most of the businesses in this county are within a 4-mile radius of the Cortland downtown. Her campus became the main driving force for economic development through a new cross-campus entrepreneurship curriculum and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The students partnered with entrepreneurs and existing small businesses to help develop business plans and marketing plans. The grant also helped fund an innovation business center. Like the Coleman Fellow campuses, SUNY Cortland now has an entrepreneur in residence to work with the faculty to better support the students’ work and learning.

Their ENT 1 course (the first course in the sequence) covers primary and secondary research as well as business models, business plans, and making pitches. Students from all over campus are taking the class. The next class (still in development), ENT 2, will be an independent study with faculty and community mentors – that’s a different approach I think. The goal is for those advanced students to participate in regional competitions. Long Island Bagel is one downtown retail success established by students.

Next steps include classes on social entrepreneurship and social innovation. They are also creating a “Community Innovation Lab” that will support local nonprofits.

The concluding discussion focused on how to increase student participation across campus, how to increasing engagement with the community, and what other types of courses are offered. The Coleman Fellow director from Colorado Mesa University was in attendance too, so there was some discussion of best practices discussed at the annual Coleman summits.

“Geographies of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Non-Farm Proprietorship Employment by U.S. Metropolitan Area”

Keith Debbage

Keith Debbage

My buddy Keith Debbage (Professor of Economic Geography) presented on his new research on geographic aspects of entrepreneurship. (He is also researching innovation quarters.) These are new areas of interest for him, resulting in part from his involvement in the Coleman Fellows program beginning two years ago. My notes on Keith’s talk aren’t too detailed, partially due me taking some pictures of Keith’s talk and posting them to social media for the Coleman program and the UNCG Geography department. So if you ever read this, Keith, please forgive me for the brevity and any misinformation.

Keith’s framing question for the research: “Is self-employment in any geography primarily the entrepreneurship of opportunity or the entrepreneurship of last resort?”

…And already we have to deal with the issue of how to define and measure entrepreneurship. Many of you business librarians have wrestled with this question before in your research workshops and consultations. Keith decided to use BEA data on non-farm proprietorship (NFP), so he defined entrepreneurship as self-employment (also the Coleman Foundation’s definition). He also used American Community Survey and BLS data for his research.

He studied MSA’s, not cities, to take into consideration commuting silos that limit spill-over effects. (Keith pointed to me as an example of the value of using MSA data, since I commute from downtown Winston-Salem to downtown Greensboro for work.)

Jumping ahead to what factors seem very important for self-employment growth:

  • Access to capital, such as bank loans and/or using ones house as collateral (high home values are disproportionate)
  • Median age (rates of self-employment go up with age)
  • Hispanic status (also higher rate of self-employment)

For example, notice in the picture how well Florida is performing.

Conclusions: NFP is an increasing important part of economy. Entrepreneurship of last resort AND of opportunity are important (capital is used more often in the latter case). So public policy needs to do better job of recognizing these two divergent entrepreneurship trends.

Finally talking to another librarian

I skipped the Friday conference lunch to have lunch with my friend Ann Goebel Brown, the Instruction Reference Librarian at GWU. Her library is right across the street from the business school. Ann has been very involved in RUSA and so besides catching up on family and personal life, we had an interesting discussion on the future of “reference services” (she is presenting at ACRL next spring on “Reference: The New Dirty Word?” – great title!) and how RUSA might be changing how it is organized to better reflect the nature of 21st century public services (with possible implications for BRASS).

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Last week 90 Coleman Fellows gathered at a conference hotel near O’Hare Airport for the 2016 Coleman Fellows Summit. This was my fourth year attending [reports for 2013, 2014, 2015] but this summit was different. Usually the majority of attendees are new fellows, recruited to add entrepreneurship elements into an existing, non-business school class (or create a cross-listed class from scratch, as I did).

Big group of fellows discussion of assessment

Big group of fellows discussion of assessment

This year, however, there was a smaller group of new fellows joining a larger group of campus directors and veteran fellows, plus a new group: the first Coleman “Entrepreneurship in Residence” cohort. Their participation reflects a new strategic shift in how the Coleman Foundation is promoting cross-campus entrepreneurship. Rather than a continued focus on funding ongoing and new cross-campus classes, the foundation now expects the campuses to fund those classes themselves. A new focus features the Entrepreneurship in Residence as local entrepreneurs who will be providing teaching, consulting, and general support to many classes each semester. A second new focus is assessing the value and impact of the Coleman Fellows program. These changes are responses to the Coleman Foundation board’s concerns about the sustainability of the fellows program.

The residents program reminds me, frankly, of us business librarians. We are also nontraditional faculty charged with serving the needs of entrepreneurship students and classes across campus, which we do as guest teachers and research consultants. Outreach strategies for the residents are similar to our own outreach strategies I think. However, the residents’ focus will be only on entrepreneurship education. Tech transfer is not included in their charge.

Veteran Fellows prioritizing our needs and opportunities (Joe, Chris)

Veteran Fellows prioritizing our needs and opportunities (Joe, Chris)

The UNCG Entrepreneurship in Residence is my friend Noah Reynolds, an amazing guy who is a CPA, has started a number of businesses, serves on several corporate and foundation boards, and also teaches ENT 300 each spring. Noah and UNCG Geography Professor Keith Debbage hit it off right away by discussing mutual economic development interests in our “Triad” region of North Carolina. Also with Hospitality and Tourism Management Professor Bonnie Canziani.

We spent all of Friday morning working in small groups on assessment, developing rubrics and assessment methodology. Joe Roberts, the national Coleman Fellows coordinator, asked me to facilitate the small group on the so-called “infusion model”, Coleman’s term for adding entrepreneurship to existing non-business classes. A dozen profs and I proposed some pretty significant changes to the set of draft rubrics for our topic, but were energized by the great discussions we had. So our several hours before lunch together talking about assessment (not a topic that normally interests me much) went by fast.

After lunch, veteran fellows Julie Shields (Millikin University), Chris Broberg (Wichita State) and I led two hours of discussion with 35 or so veteran follows. We had the folks form small discussion teams around topics of high interest (we began with a post-in note poll) and then report back in the final 30 minutes. A lot of the ideas were pretty specific to the fellows program, but one professor mentioned working more with librarians at conferences (!). There was also a series of recommendations about fellows connecting by visiting neighboring campuses, and having mentors from the same subject disciplines (like an arts prof mentoring newer art Coleman Fellows at other campuses).

Veteran fellows getting ready for break-out discussions (Julie)Veteran fellows getting ready for break-out discussions (Julie)

So this summit didn’t have a focus on Entrepreneurship 101-type training this time, and therefore I didn’t do an “introduction to entrepreneurship research” type workshop. We did have one short big group discussion Thursday evening about data mapping tools, and I piped up to check with your library to see if you have access to tools like SimplyMap (and later posted a new SimplyMap screencast video to the fellows’ newsfeed).

UNCG Coleman Fellows 2016-17

UNCG Coleman Fellows 2016-17

But I was pretty involved wearing my assistant director’s hat, under the excellent leadership of Professor Dianne Welsh, the UNCG Coleman Fellows director. As the only librarian fellow, I noticed I was more likely to be named as “Steve the Librarian,” as opposed to “Steve from UNCG”.

Finally, there was some unusual service provided. A fellow had a zipper problem in the bathroom during a morning break and asked me if I could loan him a pair of pants. (He had only brought one pair for the 3-day summit.) We had a similar height and shape, so I said sure. I got those dress pants back (freshly washed and pressed, and with the button that came off on Saturday restored) on Monday. That was funny.

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Three business librarians — Diane Campbell (Rider University), Mary Scanlon (Wake Forest University), and I — participated in the Small Business Institute (SBI) annual academic conference last week in New Orleans. We attended sessions, interacted with the business professors, and made a presentation to the profs.

Most of us arrived on Ash Wednesday, if you were curious. Clean-up from the last big Mardi Gras parade was in full swing.

at the Small Business Institute

Dr. Welsh, Debra Sea, Stoel Burrowes, and me (right) chatting before our program. I forgot to get a picture of Diane, Mary, and me presenting.

Except for the Coleman Fellow summits, this was my first visit to a business professors’ conference. (Diane is a frequent attender and presenter at SBI.) It was an interesting experience. I will be writing a short conference review for the new Ticker open access journal soon but will add a few more personal notes here, including more details about our librarians’ program than I will provide in that objective review article.

Nature of this conference

Mary and I were surprised how small the conference was – around 150 people! The smallest multi-day librarian conference I’ve been to is NCLA, which averages 1,000 people. Some of my Coleman Fellow friends were shocked to hear how large ALA Summer can get. SBI easily fit into the 2nd floor of the skinny Harrah’s hotel. We used the ball room for meals and plenary sessions, and the three conference rooms for the concurrent sessions. There was no exhibit hall. Awards for best practice ideas and best paper were given out as part of the long lunches. Breakfasts and lunches as well as several parties, including a paddleboat cruise on the final day, were included as part of the registration. Which was nice, given the registration fee was $550. (In contrast, LOEX is $290 this year.)

Perhaps because of its size, SBI seemed to have a strong focus on networking, mentoring, and sharing research and pedagogical ideas.

The nature of concurrent sessions was different from most library conferences. As the SBI program indicates, all sessions were 90 minutes long. A session could be labeled a “workshop” with only one or two topics and groups of speakers, but most of sessions included 3 or 4 presentations – so around 20-25 minutes each. Tracks included:

  • Best Practices
  • Small Business
  • Global Entrepreneurship
  • Family Business
  • Experiential Learning
  • and a few others

I got the impression that most or maybe all submissions to SBI were accepted. (That is also typical for NCLA.)

How I got there

Professor Dianne Welsh, the director of our UNCG Coleman Fellows program, is a past president of SBI and invited many of the fellows to attend, using our grant money for travel funding. We gave a program regarding embedding entrepreneurship into cross-campus classes. Diane Cambell also spoke about “How to Create High Impact Community Outreach through a Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program” with two of her professors from Rider.

What the librarians did there

Mary, Diane, and I met at the most recent Entrepreneurial Librarians conference. Professor Welsh had told me that Diane was a regular at SBI, and Mary and I have been talking about going to a business professor conference. So Mary, Diane, and I chatted about doing a librarian’s program at SBI. We decided to propose a program that suggests best practices to entrepreneurship faculty regarding the research their students should be doing, and how the faculty could be working with their local business librarians.

We titled our proposal Teaching Entrepreneurship Research Skills to Students: Best Practices from Three Entrepreneurship Librarians.” It had four sections:

  1. Designing the most effective research assignments
  2. Requiring students to use the best and most authoritative research sources
  3. The limits of secondary research and when primary research is necessary
  4. Inviting your business librarian to provide active learning research workshops at the point of need, plus research consultations with students as follow-up

We assumed we would have an hour to discuss those topics, but ended up instead as 1/3 of a 90-minute slot in the “experiential learning” track. Not ideal, in our opinions, but one of the other presentations was canceled, so we ended up as one of two programs in that 90-minute period. A nice, quick pace without being too rushed.

We had a large audience by SBI standards, around 17 folks (although a third of them were fellow UNCG fellows or Diane’s professor colleagues from Rider) who asked lots of good questions and seemed engaged throughout. Of course it helps to have friends in the audience! Mary and Diane did a great job and were fun to work with. We will post the slides online soon (I’ll write a short follow-up post with the link).

Take-aways

So what did I get out of attending SBI? Hmm well several things:

  • The professors there respect librarians and were happy to have us on board. They listened to our responses to their programs, and the folks attending the librarians’ session were genuinely interested in what we had to say – and didn’t seem offended by our recommendations to them. (A couple of profs complained that their librarians seem to be cruising towards retirement and weren’t interested in newer, engaged roles.)
  • As many of you librarians know, professors aren’t always too knowledgeable about using statistical data, and often benefit from the help of a savvy research librarian. (I’m not providing details because it would be easy to figure out which programs I’m alluding to.)
  • A professors’ conference can be very different in structure from a librarian conference. But networking is emphasized in both. We might go to USASBE next January and try to present there too. If so we’ll see what that one is like.
  • Diane and Mary are great to work with. (Mary and I also enjoyed taking the St. Charles streetcar to uptown for a reunion dinner with Betsy Clementson, a business librarian at Tulane; Betsy used to work at Western Carolina University and was active in BLINC.)
  • And as always it was great fun to hang with my Coleman fellow buds as we explored more of the city and its fine drinking and eating establishments.

Would I attend SBI again? Sure, if I had grant money to spend on travel. The networking is important – another type of embedded librarian work? – even if the application to my day-to-day work as a business librarian is more limited compared to what I get out of most library conferences.

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Tuesday was my last busy day of one-shot instruction this semester, and I’m looking forward to the Kauffman Foundation webinar for entrepreneurship librarians coming up in an hour. We use the Kauffman “FastTrac” workbook at UNCG for the feasibility analysis and business plan classes required of all our ENT majors and minor. So the webinar will hopefully be interesting. I’m trying to write this short post before then.

Emerald’s Reference Services Review recently published a special issue based on the June 2014 BRASS preconference “How Business Librarians Support Entrepreneurs”.  Sarah Barbara Watstein (UNC Wilmington) and Eleanor Mitchell (Dickinson College) edited the issue.

There are some very interesting articles in there. In December after classes end, I’ll post a “readings roundup” and discuss some of them.

Our article:

Sarah Barbara Watstein, Mary G. Scanlon, & Steve Cramer. (2015). “Q/A on teaching credit classes for entrepreneurship research”. Reference Services Review, 43 (3): 480-490. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/RSR-06-2015-0030

The questions Mary and I covered include:

  1. Describe the targeted for-credit instruction courses that you provide at your respective institutions. Specifics pertaining to pedagogy, design, outcome and assessment would be of interest to our readers. At the same time, help our readers out with some background – what was the context for your decision(s) to proceed in this fashion?
  2. What factors influenced your decision to proceed on the for-credit class track?
  3. What feedback or support has business school faculty or administrators provided for the classes?
  4. Have the classes changed since first offered, and if so, how and why?
  5. Reflecting on your experience in and out of the classroom – what are the most common information, reference and research needs of today’s entrepreneurs?
  6. In terms of best practices, how might you advise “newbies” (new academic business librarians, new subject liaisons, etc.) to design instructional services, to meet the needs of today’s student, faculty, community and veteran entrepreneurs?
  7. How is teaching entrepreneurship research different from teaching other kinds of research/business research?
  8. Do you use different resources when teaching in our entrepreneurship programs, or do you use the same resources we use with business majors differently?
  9. Given your experience in the classroom – how are entrepreneurship majors/students different from other types of students?
  10. What is your perspective on the evolving role of the academic business librarian?
  11. On entrepreneurship liaison work?
  12. On business librarianship and entrepreneurial outreach?
  13. What do you perceive as the challenges of stepping out into this space?

Sarah asked Mary and me to keep the tone informal. We even had a bit of faux-dialogue despite communicating through email. Mary is a buddy though, so we have actually discussed some of these things in person. Her experience and insights are very interesting. Mary just rotated off of chairing BLINC for the last four years. We gave her a hearty cheer last week at a fancy BLINC dinner sponsored by SimplyMap during our state library conference.

Sorry, since this is behind the Emerald paywall, I can’t post the article here, but I’ve blogged about my 530 class a lot already.

Happy Halloween to everyone.

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The 2015 Coleman Fellows Summit wrapped up Saturday in Chicagoland. This was my third summit, after first attending as a newbie fellow and a year later as the UNCG assistant director. Like last year, Professor Dianne Welsh and I presented on business models, feasibility analysis, and the research that cross-campus entrepreneurship faculty should be expecting their students to conduct for those reports. But as in past years, the main contribution I made to the summit was (hopefully) promoting business librarians as partners in entrepreneurship education. There was some feedback from campus directors that they had since gotten involved with their own business librarian. That was great to hear although it might have happened anyway of course.

Because Dianne and I ran our workshop twice, I was only able to attend one other workshop: a CSU Fresno lecturer on running an “urban entrepreneurship” class. (He also founded and runs a pub downtown that provides community programming and serves as a hub for outdoor markets.) For half of the class periods, the students meet downtown. They learn how to “read a downtown” and conduct primary research into its situation and potential. Class assignments include writing restaurant reviews, writing letters to editors on downtown issues, helping organizing “loft hops” (promotion of downtown housing), and presenting on a proposed downtown business concept to local officials and developers. Very cool! Carol and I have lived on the edge of downtown Winston-Salem since 2001 and have enjoyed seeing the revitalization and growth.

The new UNCG fellows come from English, Geography, and Gerontology. Fellow UNCG veteran fellow Bill Johnson, the UNCG “Dream Dean,” (who helped me out last winter at the arts entrepreneurship conference) also attended. A big part of my summit experience was bonding with this group.

Filming a clip at the outdoor pool

Filming a clip at the outdoor pool. We broke several resort rules in this shot.

A new summit activity this year was brainstorming a business idea and then making a video pitch for potential investors – all in 3-4 hours. Our idea had to be a type of subscription box. As you probably know, common examples of subscriptions boxes include wine, craft beer, local food, and sex supplies (probably the first use of boxes? Those folks are also on the cutting edge of new technologies and delivery models). ENT 300 has had several subscription box ideas researched lately, most recently NC craft beers.

Bill and I hamming it up on the links

Bill and me hamming it up on the links. Note my unusual golfing attire.

Anyway, we tried to come up with a new box idea (really hard to do) and ended up with discounted prices on interesting recreational, enrichment activities for couples (ex. theaters, resorts, wine tastings, etc.) We decided that having fun and bonding was our main goal for this project, so we got silly with some role playing all over our own resort location. (That’s why I’m not naming the other fellows involved!) The only tech we had was an iPad. We did have a lot of fun. But the downside was less time to network with fellows from other campuses and learn from them.

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Hope everyone is having a good summer.

Catching up: summer liaison chores

Lost sandal on Lake Michigan snow fence

Lost sandal on Lake Michigan snow fence. From a summer trip.

I have three weeks left of summer work mode before a two-week vacation, three days back at work (including a short workshop for MBA orientation), and then the Coleman Fellows summit in Chicago. (Professor Dianne Welsh and I will again be presenting on teaching business models v. business plans.) Return on Saturday, enjoy a Sunday with Carol, and then fall semester classes begin the next day (Monday, August 17). Whew. I’ll be co-teaching ENT 300 and MKT 426 once again, we will have a bunch of new reference interns, and LIS student Marla Means will begin her independent study on liaison trends.

Carol and me biking

Carol and me biking. Note the Mergent t-shirt that Greg S. gave me at ACRL.

This is the time of summer when I can get kind of bored at work, frankly. There are no research-intensive classes taught in the business school in the two 5-week summer semesters. And after some interesting requests for research support from faculty and grad students in early May, that source of liaison work has largely dried up for the summer. But I recently peer-reviewed a manuscript submitted to a collection development journal (never done that before), and wrote an external peer review for a tenured librarian who applied for a jump in rank. Those both took a while (appropriately so).

I’ve thoroughly updated my LibGuides (deleting a few course guides for classes I haven’t worked with for a year) and turned my “Citing Business Databases in APA Format” guide into a PDF file. LibGuides version 2 is sucky with HTML and I was tired of fighting its ugly messy nasty markup coding. It was actually liberating to rebuild that list of example citations using Word (then saving as a PDF). I expanded the background notes, adding a few database-specific notes, and added a few more sources while retaining time-saving internal hyperlinks.

Now I need to focus on updating many of my screencast videos (example: the newish interfaces in Euromonitor and Mintel). For some reason I procrastinate on that work each summer. I need some Chad Boeninger pills!

Partnering for conference programs

Richard Moniz of Charlotte’s Johnson & Wales University Library (and prolific author of library science books), Marla Means, and I just got our program proposal to the North Carolina Library Association Conference accepted. (NCLA accepts almost all submissions, so no biggie, but it’s a good state conference.) Working on that proposal was a fun summer project. Our title is “The Expanding Role of the Academic Liaison: Balancing Subject Versus Functional Skills.” The core questions we will discuss with the audience will be:

  • How should libraries balance these two types of liaison roles?
  • Should libraries hire functional specialists to partner with the subject liaisons, or somehow train subject liaisons to pick up the needed functional expertise?
  • And how should these functional and subject specialists be organized and managed?

If you have wisdom regarding those questions, we would love to hear from you! There are some excellent-sounding programs on other aspects of liaison work as well as business librarianship (courtesy of BLINC) at NCLA 2015, so I’ll post some summaries in October.

This week Diane Campbell (Rider University), Mary Scanlon (Wake Forest University) and I finished up a program proposal for the 2016 Small Business Institute Annual Conference in New Orleans. This is a small conference for small business and entrepreneur professors. Diane has spoken at SBI a number of times, but this will be a first try for Mary and me. Our title is “Teaching Entrepreneurship Research Skills to Students: Best Practices from Three Entrepreneurship Librarians.” We should know by November if we are accepted at SBI. Maybe in 2017 we will try to speak to the professors at USASBE.

Summer readings on liaisoning

LJ (Lisa Peet) interviewed the new University Librarian of Columbia University, Ann Thornton. Thornton ended a long answer with

The library staff get engaged as well, and they’re increasingly partners with faculty in teaching and learning, and in research as well. That’s a big shift for all academic research libraries.

Peet responds “Is that something you hope to promote at Columbia?”

And Thornton replied:

Oh yes, and it’s already happening. The faculty who work closely with their liaison librarians are happy—I hear what good service they feel they get and what great rapport they have, really solid working relationships. They know whom to contact; they feel well served; they are frequently asked about what they would like added to the collections. But I think it’s less understood at a macro level how librarians are truly partnered with faculty in terms of teaching and research. We probably need to do more to tell that story, and are looking for the right ways to do that.

Very cool to hear liaison work on teaching and research touted so highly by a new director. Telling the story of liaison contributions has been an increasing emphasis here too, with encouragement from our library dean and provost.

The issues of visibility and partnering with faculty are central in a recent ACRL post by Sarah Crissinger: Navigating (New) Relationships with Faculty: Valuing Service. Sarah is a newly-hired Information Literacy Librarian at nearby Davidson College. She discusses the need for new and established liaisons to build “fruitful, collaborative partnerships” with professors. But then she pulls in other bloggers (Maria Accardi, Lauren Wallis) concerning the status of academic librarians on their campuses.

The “feminization of LIS” comes up as well as “moving beyond service”. Hmm but service can lead to collaboration and partnerships, in my experience. Providing service doesn’t have to lead to becoming a servant. Lawyers and medical doctors provide services but certainly don’t get paid like servants. Is that a fair analogy? Let’s ignore the issue of student debt for the moment!

Some of the discussion and linked posts get a little over my head with critical theory, but there are many interesting thoughts in here. Read the comments, too. Sarah took the time to reply to each of them, nice.

Last year Lauren Wallis wrote about creating a one-credit class, Honors 308: The Politics of Information with a librarian colleague. It’s always interesting to read about librarian-created classes that have a subject focus, and Lauren is frank about the process of creating this class.

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