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Top Trends in Community Colleges in 2013

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Sunday, December 01, 2013
Updated: Sunday, December 01, 2013

As the fall semester comes to a close, my thoughts have turned to a year-end review.  I decided to check-in with two of our "Innovative Solutions for Challenges Facing Community Colleges" panelists from the NACCE2013 conference. Dr. Angeline Godwin, President of Patrick Henry Community College and Matt Reed, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Holyoke Community College, blogger and author of my personal resource guide - "Confessions of a Community College Administrator" gave their points of view on trends they saw. Listen to the podcast. 


"Community colleges are a 360 degree enterprise."  

As a community college president, "we are looking for the broadest and deepest engagement with our community and students" says Dr. Godwin.  She gave stackable credits as an example of the innovative work that serves both industry and students as the stackable credits are usually industry driven. With these credits, the students are more marketable and more mobile. While the downturn in the local economy was a driver for Patrick Henry Community College to take a 360 approach, Dr. Godwin hears presidents across the country addressing their community colleges as 360 degree enterprises.


"Improving Student Success is Mission Driven and Now Funding Driven"

Starting at minute 6:50

Dr. Reed notes that while community colleges have always been focused on student success, in 2013 many states moved to performance funding. States are funding based on the metrics that they define as indicators of student success. One of the ways that Dr. Reed is meeting that goal is by using Big Data to better understand his college's actual results and outputs. Listen to hear other trends around technology that Dr. Reed is seeing. 

What are trends that you have seen? Leave a comment below.

Download File (MP3)

Tags:  2013 trends 

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Inspiring & Engaging Student Trep

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to live blog

Presenter: Felecia Hatcher, Chief Popsicle Officer, Feverish Popsicle & Gourmet Ice Cream

I need to get the video for Felecia's talk. Too many good things (and laughs!)  to type.


Big "Ah Has" 

  • She got $120K+ in scholarships as a C student. Yup, C.
  • She used her college assets - dorm phone, copy machine - to launch her first business.
  • Her mom, who said she had to go to college, also said she should start a business based on work she was doing without charging. As a mom myself, I tend to focus on being an employee. Shame on me, I know. 
  • You cannot take passion to the bank to pay your bills.
  • Dad told her not to "take a break" from a business even though she was in debt and had a lucrative presenter gig lined up. Parents are Influencers.
  • More people need to share their stories of failure. The myth is that it is a straight line to $3 billion buyout. In truth, there are a lot of ups and down and not always a buy out.
  • "Adversity" - double job layoff for husband and wife founder team - helped then launch their business.
  • Lots of stories about "Bird in the Hand" - "We used what we had."
  • Entrepreneurs are scrappy. 40 year old truck for catering event broke down, so they towed it to the site and then when it broke down again, they pushed the truck to the site.
  • When she work at large firms, she made to sure to learn from those firms their best practices that she could apply to her company.

Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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Teaching Entrepreneurship Across the Disciplines

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Exciting to be live blogging from NACCE Miami Dade College Summit



  • Prof. Isabel Del-Pino-Allen, English & Communications, Miami Dade College, North Campus
  • Prof. Zulfikar Kalam, Criminal Justice, Miami Dade College, North Campus
  • James Van Voris, School of Entertainment & Design Technology, Producer
  • Prof. Kim Simon, Business Administration, Madisonville Community College, NACCE Faculty Ambassador for HP LIFE

 How can we integrate entrepreneurship across the curriculum?

  • Need to remember it is not a one day conversation but a ongoing process. We need to change the culture to be entrepreneurial.
  • Remember entrepreneurship is as different as the people that create it. Diversity must be paid attention to. (Amen!)
  • Create a mindset so that entrepreneurship is not "out there" but internalized.
  • Many students are already entrepreneurial because they are self-employed. These students sometimes view being self-employed not as important as having a Corporate job. This mindset has to change.
  • Entrepreneurship education is like stretching. It feels good when get started but settle into our habitual sedentary way. However, in entrepreneurship education, we need to stand up and keep stretching. 
  • Problem based learning helps students how they can pivot themselves in their careers and also be intrapreneurs in their jobs.
  • Immigrants can be the most entrepreneurial since they needed to be entrepreneurial to make a living.
  • Remember students in welding, entertainment technology will most likely start a business. They need to be equipped to be successful and profitable.

Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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Redefining Entrepreneurship

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to be live blogging from NACCE Miami Dade College Summit


Presenter: Gary Schoeniger, Co-Creator "Who Owns the Ice House"


How do we define entrepreneurship?

In the past we ignored the entrepreneurs and their talents, we focused on The Company. Then we focused on the charismatic start up leaders. But today net new jobs are created outside of large companies. So we know about large companies, small business management but do not know about entrepreneurial process.


How are we teaching?

  • Plan & Pitch with tech focus but the problem is that a fraction of 1% are funded by VCs.
  • Small Business Management as running a company but entrepreneurship is not management. Assumes trep has customers with traction.

Entrepreneurial Study on the Reality of the Founding of Fortune 500 Firms

  • Did not have break through technology
  • Little formal planning
  • Ad hoc market research
  • Start up capital of $10k or less
  • Little or no experience in chosen field (BIG Surprise to me.)


What path do these "scrappy" Fortune 500 founders take?

  • They connect with their environment by creating something useful. (Transformation Theory changes within a system - Search, Growth and Obsolescence (from Ted Talk on "How are Schools are Killing Creativity)).  Solve other people's problems.
  • Once founders get traction (people are buying what you are selling), they replicate success, improve continually and create compliance.
  • Once environment changes in ways that are outside of our control, the growth starts to slow. Change may be met by entrenched systems. Founders pivot based on external changes and grow or perish.
  • Because of growth phase, there is capital to fund new ideas. However,  may be hesitant to make big bold bets. May acquire growth, not create internally. 

Entrepreneurship = Opportunity Discovery! (Amen)


Gary presents on Who Owns the Ice House?"



Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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How Is Entrepreneurship a Tool to Build Community?

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to live blogging from the Miami Dade College NACCE Summit



  • Matt Haggman, Program Director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation


How Is Entrepreneurship a Tool to Build Community? 

'Our mission to to understand and deliver on how do you connect and support entrepreneurship - doers, makers, entrepreneurs of ALL Kinds. The bet was that if you did it well, it would result in greater community engagement, empowered problem solvers, and retention of local.'


Miami is the perfect place to grow an trep ecosystem

  • Strong diversity
  • Very fluid - new people coming into a new places means new ideas come in
  • Significant wealth
  • Strong creative community which feeds trep ecosystem
  • Strong educational system

Some challenges

  • Bureaucracy 
  • Many startups but need more scale ups, to show success

Knight's Ideas on Growing Ecosystems

  • Create networks, not hierarchies 
  • Conduct experiments before you scale
  • Do not reinvent, when you can import
  • Create opportunities for shared learning - 2,000 people at Maker Faer, 8,000 members of MeetUp

How do you measure success?

We are learning as we are going but here are the current measurements.

  • Measure participation and engagement
  • New ideas created that are validated by investment
  • Retain young talent in the city


Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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Why Entrepreneurship Education is Good for Local Economies

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to be live blogging from the NACCE Miami Dade College Summit! 

Presenter: Doan Winkel, NACCE Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow


How Do Ecosystems Work and Why are They Needed?

'Entrepreneur is someone who thinks differently and sees an opportunity and how to solve it. Ecosystems grow over generations. Make sure there is diversity (YES!) and you celebrate small victories. Entrepreneurs should build it but be sure to involve ecosystem partners like academia and government. Vibrant ecosystems grow economies.'

'Recruiting businesses is insufficient. You grow a local economy where people want to live when you launch and grow businesses. People will want to live there, engage in meaningful work and people purse their passions. It is an exciting place to live!'


Seed Entrepreneurship Across Generations 

'Incite entrepreneurial thinking from kindergarten to career. Don't start at the educational system. Start this work in the community and offer an experiential opportunity and be inclusive. Excite the community and show results and then go to your local institution.'

How do you teach entrepreneurship?

'Innovate in the classroom. Lecturing does not work. Provides experiential learning experiences. Do not just model the real world, but create it (and get out into it).'

'Give your students the ownership of their classroom experience - students choose content, grade themselves, mentoring each other, create discussion, give assignments and assess the learning.'


Tags:  Miami Dade College  Regional Summit 

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Great External Partnership Exercise For Community Colleges

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

Many thanks to Janice Washington, Arizona State Director of Small Business Development Center Network, for her exercise on "How SBDCs and Community Colleges Can Help the New and Existing Entrepreneurs".


At the Rio Salado NACCE Summit lunch, Janice planted an entrepreneur, SBDC or PTAC, and community college member at each lunch table to incite a discussion on 3 questions.

  1. What programs or initiatives are already going on in your college, business or community?
  2. What is working now that can be expanded or enhanced?
  3. What would you like to or what could you create together?

Each table is discussing the questions and will report back on ACTIONABLE next steps. Otis White is getting each table's discussion for NACCE to share so members can get some good ideas.


Thanks Janice and Otis!

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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Attracting and Connecting Entreprenuers

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

So many good ideas here at the summit. I hope this blog captures the essence if you could not attend.

Treps = Entrepreneurs

Moderator - Dr. Shari Olson


  • Randall Kimmens
  • Greg Strzelcyk
  • Bruce McHenry
  • Tim Mittan

Why entrepreneurship now? 

Randall - We are all entrepreneurs. We are all running our own lives. Students should know entrepreneurship, ethics and what it means to be part of global economy.

Bruce - He asks his students, "How many of you want to start a business?" All of them raise their hands. Students see entrepreneurship as a pathway to get control of their life and the contribution they make. "We can all be entrepreneurial academics." 

Tim - Gallop poll finds that 60+% of 16 year olds want to be in their own business. Think of impact these students can make on their local economy. There is too much to lose to ignore these entrepreneurial yearnings.

Greg - Entrepreneurship fosters innovation that helps reduce costs to in turn fuel more businesses to start.

 Shari - Bruce is right. "We can all be entrepreneurial academics."  We NEED to be.


How do you engage entrepreneurs? 

Bruce: Time is the most scare resource that treps have. To engage them, you need to find value to offer them to get them to leave their office. Also try to connect treps together so they can share their best practices.

Tim: Treps want to know that what you are teaching can also benefit as existing company. Think about what can you teach them.

Greg - My company offers a consultative approach. Treps want to know about new technologies or innovations but they do not know where to start. 

Randall - It is about relationship building. Get out there and talk to the treps. What are they struggling with in their specific business. As a District, we try to be driven by student success but also by facilitating the growth of existing businesses.

Shari: As a system of many colleges, we not only share idea for running programs but also entrepreneurs. We want the treps to have access to ALL of our systems resources.


New Opportunities for Treps

Tim - We created a business incubator. We found out our students were not interested so we opened it up to community. We found that there was a need for ongoing support for existing small businesses. Community was in the middle of everything we did.

Greg - His company created a pay as you go model for his small business customers.

Randall - Build community with local economic development company. We also brought in PTAC. Educate partners about what they do not know. Educate them about the services that they all provide. Make sure that these service providers let the entrepreneurs know. 

Bruce- Create a cohort of 40 students. They each get $250 via NACCE/Coleman grant to seed their business. (also great plug for NACCE membership. Thanks Bruce!) Also, treps take a story telling course. If you are selling/pitching, you are a story teller. 


What is your advice for colleges starting an entrepreneurship program?

Greg - Community colleges play vital role with young entrepreneurs. Give them real life scenarios. Give hands on experience via internships.

Randall - Help students assess if they are an entrepreneur. Do they have the personality to do it? 

Bruce - Remember as academics and center directors, we too are entrepreneurs! Do what you teach. Test, learn, pivot and fail. Engage the whole college.

Tim - Get support from the top. 

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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Thinking Like an Entrepreneur at a Community College

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

So much fun to live blog. Hopefully, I am capturing the essence from today if you could not get to Arizona. Apologies for the typos!!

Also trep= entrepreneur

Moderator: Otis White


  • Jasper Welch
  • Tim Putnam
  • Alan Stephens
  • Bennett Curry

Otis: Reminds us of the keys to successful entrepreneurship

Bird in hand - Start with what ya got! 

Affordable Loss principle - focus on the downside risk

Crazy Quilt principle - form partnerships

Lemonade principle - leverage contingencies

Pilot in a plane - control versus prediction


Bird in the Hand

Jasper: Entrepreneurs are by nature optimistic. Ask them "How will you pivot? What is your backup plan?"

Tim - Talk to customers! Does everyone really want that? Then ask you customers how much you will pay. 

Alan - Education, incubation, mentoring and access to capital are keys to trep success. Many treps do not know that these services are already in their community.

Bennett - Ability to communicate your idea is critical. So is ability to identify opportunities. 


Affordable Loss - How do you focus on downside risk?

Tim - Work ON the business, not always IN the business. Make sure you have industry experience.

Alan - Make sure you know all your true costs. How much does it cost to produce service/good? If you do not know costs, you cannot know affordable loss.

Bennett - You need to have skin in the game. What are you willing to give up?

Jasper - Part of our role is to help treps understand what "all in" is. 

Otis - You need to be financial literate to measure what your affordable loss is. Needs to be built into your education.


Crazy Quilt - Form Partnerships

Alan - Entrepreneurship can feel isolated but there are so many service providers locally who provide their services for free. They can be your partner.

Bennett - Entrepreneurs can feel like they are alone but they are not. There are not many NEW biz problems. I see businesses networking and talking about common problems so they do not feel like they are alone. Also talk to your potential customers.

Jasper - Get advisers. As budding entrepreneur in kingdom of one, your perspective may be limited. Your prices may to low. Bankers, SBDC Director are also partners. 

Tim - "Just ask." Anyone who will benefit from your business is a potential partner - banker, construction firm, vendors. They want to see you succeed.  

For some college internal and external partnerships, you might have to work on a partnership mindset.

Leverage Contingencies - Make lemonade out of lemons

Bennett - Create opportunities to simulate risk management situations. 

Jasper - Leverage your clients. "We cannot afford staff costs. How can you share the work?"

Alan - In some natural resource driven industries, businesses are forced by external events to develop new partnerships and new business model. Crisis can be the Mother of Invention!

Pilot in the Plane - What do treps need to review/measure to be in control?

Jasper: Incubators need to look at whether trep is coachable. Owner needs to understand what she can and cannot do well. Coders are not good biz dev staff. :) Also, get a handle on your money. 

Tim - Think of plane. Only takes one or two to fly a plane however, many people make sure the plane gets on and off the ground safely. Also, try to get someone to invest. If you cannot, is it because something is wrong with business model?

Alan - If you are an aging business, focus on both your external landscape (competitors, external forces) and what great qualities helped you launch your business, 

Bennett - Get a dashboard - cash flow, customer management of existing customers, business development/new customers.

OTIS ask the audience: Are these entrepreneurial principles the skills we are teaching?

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Live from NACCE Rio Salado Summit

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Why Community Colleges Must Play A Significant Role in Entrepreneurship in the Next Decade and the Role of Community Colleges in Becoming Entrepreneurial Themselves"


  • Heather VanSickle
  • Tim Mittan
  • Tim Putnam

Why Must Community College Play a Role?

Creates a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that incites innovation, jobs and long-term economic growth. 

How do you do that?

Heather describes Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge. Community colleges should start with what they have. You do not always need to start with BIG ideas and lots of money. As Saras Sarasvathy, in her Entrepreneurial Method, says:

  • Start with what you have
  • Decide how much you can lose
  • Co-create with partners
  • Leverage contingencies
  • Have a worldview that we can CREATE change that we want to see. You do not have to wait.

 Culture is important too! Do you work in a place where you can test and learn?


Tim Putnam

NIAC started with humble beginning but want to make an impact in North Iowa. Their center's role is to pump the pipeline of entrepreneurs and innovation. He thinks of education as transformational. He is involved from 5th grade through higher ed inciting the message that you can be job creators, you can be an entrepreneur. He brings in a wide range of partners from those involved in tech transfers to capital providers to SBDC. To me, it sounds like they are conveners, marketers and translators so his community knows all of what is available and how to access those resources successfully. "As a community college, we are non-threatening and in turn have great partnerships."

Heather said "Many of the points Tim touched on applied the Entrepreneurial Method. We need to start developing a shared language and take it out of the abstract so we can understand how to apply best practices to our own colleges."

Tim Mittan

Tim was in rural Nebraska for ten years. He was charged with inciting entrepreneurship on campus. Tim started with education. A Entreprenuership 101 course ended up in the course catalog with no marketing and yet it was full when it started, mostly with non-business students. Wedler, auto, ag and early childhood students all took entrepreneurship courses. Those students were going to run small business but were not taught business. In Nebraska, they had to take out the word entrepreneurship, and used small business instead. Locals thought you had to be Warren Buffet if you wanted to be an entrepreneur.

With a big state, it took 8 hours to drive across. Tim shared his work and best practices with community colleges across the state. Tim helped develop NetForce, to identify and leverage educational resources to educate, engage and empower current and potential entrepreneurs.  I need to interview on how he rolled their education courses out across the state! Within year he got all of curriculum created and approved!

How do you build internal and external partnerships?

Tim Putnam - He partners with his Economic Development Corporation offices. He reaches out 

Tim Mittan - To build his internal team, he held a breakfast for all program directors at his new entrepreneurial center. Through that outreach he developed internal partnerships with technical directors. Since the technical directors could not add a course for their students who they thought were going to start a business, Tim's team offered to be a substitute once a semester.

How do you engage entrepreneurs?

Heather - It is good to engage your alumni. Many are entrepreneurs. She tells a story of how a college in Wisconsin who had nursing alumni who started a business come on for a panel. This engagement created many opportunities to keep the alum engaged - guest lectures, presenters, new course and student internships.

Tim Mittan - He started an Advisory board. 50% treps and 50% resource providers. Out of that, he started a Meet the Experts

Tim Putnam - He started a seed fund with entrepreneurs and angels and in first fund raised $1.7M. Tim need to start an LCC. His next steps is to start a formal mentor network but he is not sure that there is not enough work to engage the mentors.

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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