Leaders from the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Illinois and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Parkland College have collaborated in the creation of a new TV show called "Outside the Box.” This dynamic, fast-paced program showcases local entrepreneurs in Champaign-Urbana, IL. The goal of the show, besides to inform, is to inspire local viewers to become students, designers and owners in the world of entrepreneurs.
This TV series was inspired by the positive connection between two colleges around the work of enhancing student learning through new ways of thinking. The networking between Dr. Tony Mendes, Executive Director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Carl Meyer, Executive Director of the Parkland Foundation, began the conversation that would include Parkland’s faculty with the University’s faculty in the Academy. As Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning, I agreed to launch the work at Parkland College through the Center for Excellence. In Parkland’s pilot year, two biologists designed entrepreneurial curriculum allowing students to use their critical thinking skills to save the environment and create a nutrition bar. In addition, they joined the community of 15 University of Illinois Academy scholars through workshops and social events.
The premiere of Outside the Box, produced by the talented crew of the Parkland College TV station, featured downtown Champaign entrepreneurs who stimulated an exciting Renaissance. Specifically, a boutique owner and two major real estate developers were interviewed to share their insights of the thoughts and actions it takes to be successful. In addition, the show covered the Research Park at the University of Illinois. Viewers got the chance to see incubator companies–which are great ideas that are being allowed to grow within the services of Research Park–and much more.
What’s the value in producing a locally designed show on entrepreneurship? Such a show:
- Informs the community that both colleges work together for the common good.
- Makes the student audience aware of original approaches to teaching.
- Supports the initiative to retain educated talent in the area.
- Provides knowledge of local entrepreneurs and successes.
- Stimulates new thinking.
- Highlights faculty from both colleges.
The second show was filmed in Chicago at the Worldwide Universities Network Conference in October with key international entrepreneurs, students and faculty being interviewed. The "Outside the Box” Web site will encourage audience participation and series design. This is just the beginning ... stay tuned.