On October 17, collegiate educators from across the nation convened in Chicago for the final Summit of participants in the Coleman Foundation Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows Program. The Program is coming to a close following the 2018-2019 academic year in its tenth season of expanding entrepreneurship education beyond the school of business and across college campuses. The goal of the Summit was to provide an opportunity for participants from ten campuses to meet and discuss the transition of the Fellows Program as well as to celebrate a decade of achievement.
During the Program’s ten years, the Foundation funded small fellowships to over 800 faculty members on 33 college campuses, enabling them to embed self-employment concepts in courses from anthropology to zoology. Thousands of college students were able to gain exposure to basic self-employment concepts and perspectives which were delivered in their own majors and departments using the language of their discipline.
The Summit saw an exchange of ideas by the collegiate entrepreneurship educators, known in the Program as Project Directors, who lead programs on their campuses. Participants discussed the models their continuing programs will take as well as pathways to securing local financial support. Invited Fellows shared with one another their lessons learned and future plans.
“The final Summit was a fitting way to bring this ten-year effort to a celebratory note,” said Michael Hennessy, President of the Coleman Foundation. “Project Directors and Fellows were able to take a step back from their work to acknowledge their achievements and the efforts they took together. The Foundation was proud to recognize them and celebrate.”
The Summit closed with a recognition dinner at which each of the participating campus leaders attested to the impact of the Program and of their leading Fellows. Ten Project Directors, approximately twenty Fellows and a select group of entrepreneurs-in-residence funded through the Program received certificates of appreciation from the Foundation for their contributions.
One recipient was Dr. Joseph Roberts of Webster University who was recognized for his work as National Program Director. Roberts coordinated much of the Fellows Program activities and provided thought leadership during years the Program evolved.
“For several years we have compared the Fellows Program to a group of friends who gather over coffee.” said Clark McCain, Senior Program Officer. “The Foundation found great value in gathering together faculty members from different disciplines on a single campus — as well as those from different campuses who teach in the same discipline — for the purpose of discussing how to convey self-employment concepts in the language of their discipline. Often when you lifted the Fellows Program coffee cup at those gatherings, you found Joe underneath it making it all work.”
The Foundation has funded a project to document the impact of the Fellows Program through conversations with faculty and students who were impacted. A formal publication is expected by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.