Interim Dean–Business and Computer Information
Friday, September 18, 2009
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
Dean–Business and Computer Information
Arkansas Community College, Bentonville, AR
Arkansas community colleges have signed a memorandum of understanding in which
they agreed to collaborate and offer a core set of entrepreneurship courses
using the same course titles and course numbering system, as well as a common
set of course outcomes. The curriculum and course outcomes were initially
developed at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) in Bentonville, AR.
The courses are part of an AAS Degree in Business Management with an
entrepreneurship option; a technical certificate is included as part of the AAS
degree in entrepreneurship. The courses cover introduction to entrepreneurship,
funding, opportunity/feasibility analysis, professional selling/advertising and
the capstone course, small business management. While initially designed for
credit, the courses can be used for non-credit and seminar classes.
Arkansas Association of Two Year Colleges (AATYC) has taken the lead in the
continuing development of an entrepreneurship consortium. Under the leadership
of Ed Franklin and Steve Lease, the AATYC facilitates and promotes the vision
of a unified curriculum and a group of two-year colleges going forward to
foster entrepreneurship and economic development in each area of Arkansas.
Collegiate Dictionary defines consortium as "an agreement, combination, or
group formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one
member.” Wikipedia indicates that "a consortium is an association with the
objective of participating in a common activity or a pooling of resources for
achieving a common purpose.” In late February, 2009, NWACC and the nine other
community colleges in the consortium moved beyond their memorandum of
understanding and made substantial progress towards becoming a true
February 26th and 27th, North Arkansas College hosted The Arkansas Association
of Two Year Colleges Entrepreneurship Conference at the impressive L.E. "Gene”
Durand Center on North Arkansas College’s Center Campus. The purpose of the
conference was to articulate a vision for boosting entrepreneurial education
across all of Arkansas’s 22 two-year colleges and to provide a forum for
discussions on how the consortium members should go forward. Tim Putnam of
North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA, was the workshop facilitator
and gave participants a vision for creating comprehensive entrepreneurship
centers on their campuses.
result of the conference, the original 10 member schools agreed upon curricula
issues and agreed to share resources so each school could fully integrate
entrepreneurship into their business programs by the Fall Semester of 2009.
Some schools have already begun offering the courses and degree programs, and
each of the others will be on board by Fall ‘09.
roll out these new courses, NorthWest Arkansas Community College’s
Entrepreneurship program, under the direction of Dean Tim Cornelius and George
Tanner, lead Entrepreneurship professor, have agreed to work with the other
schools in the consortium to assist in providing alternative delivery of
courses. This alternative delivery may include webinars and/or compressed
interactive video. This arrangement will allow each school to offer a
consistent set of entrepreneurship courses and will solve the potential
start-up problems of securing qualified instructors or sufficient enrollment
numbers at some schools.
entrepreneurship consortium envisions an interactive collective sharing of
resources across the state, with some courses originating from a member school
and beamed to any of the others that wish to receive them while others will be
self-contained on campuses. This unusual commitment to sharing and
collaboration will help each school to focus on its strengths to overcome
potential obstacles. NWACC has also offered to share the same arrangement with
any of the other non-consortium community colleges in Arkansas. The ultimate
goals of the consortium are to add additional members from community colleges
not yet committed to the curriculum and to become a resource for students,
entrepreneurs, and educators across the state of Arkansas.