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Educator and Entrepreneur; A Partnership for Positive Changes

Tuesday, January 31, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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By Karen Watts, Bellingham Technical College

What’s my biggest wish for higher education? I want educators to think and act like social entrepreneurs, and not only because I’ve been teaching entrepreneurship since 1999.

It’s no secret that the higher education system is in desperate need of an overhaul. Like any other "industry” we have our share of superstar performers, dead weight employees, and a wide spectrum of customers with varied needs. Previous attempts to revamp education have fallen short. However, higher education is unique in so many ways that traditional business solutions often seem inadequate.

Our work in providing education and training can mean the difference between career success and a life of poverty for our students. We can’t afford to get it wrong, so we can’t afford to stay stuck in the academic bubble any longer. Educators need to apply entrepreneurial strategies to academic problems.

The world of business moves quickly as does the world of science and technology. Taking weeks, a semester, or months to make a decision simply isn’t practical. Entrepreneurs are fast; educators need to be fast too. As an industry we need to learn to make decisions without dozens of committee meetings or a chain of policy related emails. Our schools need to be responsive and flexible like the best of small businesses. Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you, "customers won’t wait—they just move on to your competitor”.

Read the rest of Karen's speech!

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