Developing Successful Entrepreneurship Curricula
This session will focus on the development of Entrepreneurship Programs that meet the needs of the community as a whole. While any new curriculum should consider how it relates to the population, goals and functions of the community it serves, this is especially true when the program is focused on Entrepreneurship. This presentation will highlight these components, along with discussions on how community links may be strengthened.
This presentation will focus on the facets of curriculum development, how they link with the community needs, and the interaction among colleges and various entities within the locale. This presentation and discussion will revolve around four steps of curricular development.
Building a successful and future-oriented curriculum combines logic and creativity. Any educational institution, whether it be a nationally acclaimed university or a recognized community college, serves the purpose of meeting student learning needs and providing graduates who can operate successfully within their chosen arenas. Programs contribute to achievement of community goals and meet the requirements of workforce development.
Building an entrepreneurship curriculum is more than pulling together a collection of courses. It is a studied and focused process. As a relatively newly recognized discipline, an entrepreneurship curriculum cannot rely on tradition. This presentation centers on four steps which comprise the journey to success.
The process starts with realistic scans of a particular community to determine its characteristics and their impact on the evolving curriculum. Is the community rural, urban, suburban; focused on one or two industries; growing, or pointed to the future? What exists, what needs support, and what is yet to be developed? The what and how of this is part of the presentation.
Next, one must determine the pertinent characteristics of the students? What age ranges predominate; are students seeking job placement and/or advancement; do they intend to transfer, complete associate degrees, or complete certificates only? Discussion will include how these factors influence the format of the curriculum.
There follows an identification of realistic skill sets that will meld with the goals and directions set by the above factors. This includes not just skills related to the major, but also the need for general education accomplishments. Confirmation of the skill by experts in the field provides a solid base from which to proceed.
Translation of these skills into a various courses—traditional, existing, and newly formed-- and a determination of the learning experiences that will reside in the courses follows. These courses need to incorporate appropriate objectives and designation of learning experiences that sustain the learning. For example, will there be independent study, internships, use of mentors, incorporation of real business situations, and formation of business clubs. Students need to apply theory in realistic environments. Examination of specific curricula will help illustrate these two parts of the process.
An overview of how several related Entrepreneurship programs progressed through the development phases will be the foci of this presentation. Techniques which elicit features of major community elements, along with their application to curriculum evolvement will be shared with the attendees. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss these four aspects of curricular development and present their solutions to related case studies.
Sharon Schmickley, Chariperson of the Business and Computer Systems Division Institution, Howard Community College, MD