Entrepreneurship is more than a buzzword at K-State. With a new Center for Entrepreneurship and a new academic major in entrepreneurship, it's part of the K-State culture.
"Entrepreneurship is about being more innovative and creative as an institution and where venture opportunities occur, to seize those initiatives," said M. Duane Nellis, K-State provost and senior vice president. "At K-State, we have been moving forward in recent years to enhance this dimension of our university as part of fulfilling our 21st century land-grant mission."
K-State's new Center for Entrepreneurship is meeting one of its goals with a new bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship through the College of Business Administration. Approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in November, the major will be offered beginning in fall 2009. The class "Introduction to New Venture Creation" will be offered for the first time in summer 2009.
"I think that it's going to be a very popular course across campus," said Jeff Hornsby, a professor of management in the College of Business Administration. "The Center for Entrepreneurship wants to encourage every college to come up with an entrepreneurship course. Now the center can start looking at initiating a cross-campus minor."
Hornsby is the Jack Vanier Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is spearheading the Center for Entrepreneurship. The center will bring faculty and students from across disciplines together to foster entrepreneurship not just on campus but also in communities across Kansas, he said.
"We are a land-grant university, so developing programs that foster entrepreneurial development is part of our role," Hornsby said. "In terms of outreach, the Center for Entrepreneurship will be working with Kansas communities, especially rural ones, to help them develop entrepreneurship and to mentor them. We'll be working with high schools to get students engaged in entrepreneurship and to train teachers to teach entrepreneurship."
Hornsby said the center will work with K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute, K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development and K-State's National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization.
The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is part of K-State's College of Engineering and is a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Center of Excellence. It helps companies, entrepreneurs and university researchers develop products and processes and launch them into the marketplace. Student interns from many of K-State's colleges work and learn alongside institute staff.
The Center for Engagement and Community Development at K-State helps bridge the university's knowledge resources and innovations with Kansas communities.
The National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization, known as NISTAC, works to strengthen regional economies by facilitating the commercialization of new technologies through the promotion of related research and education.
"At K-State, we have been moving forward ... to enhance this dimension of our university as part of fulfilling our 21st century land-grant mission."
– Duane Nellis, K-State provost and senior vice president
Ruth Dyer, K-State associate provost, said other goals for the Center for Entrepreneurship include offering certificate programs in entrepreneurship, starting a lecture series, sponsoring competitions for students and helping faculty develop and pursue their interests in entrepreneurship, regardless of discipline.
"We would like to have faculty circles where professors who have an interest in this area can share ideas and innovations with one another," Dyer said.
A campuswide interdisciplinary approach is what will set K-State's Center for Entrepreneurship apart from efforts at other universities, Hornsby said.
"This is an initiative that is born out of a framework that encompasses all centers, departments and institutes," Hornsby said. "We're taking the strengths of each college to develop our programs."
The center has an executive committee and also is forming an internal advisory board made up of faculty from every college at K-State and an external advisory board of successful entrepreneurs and business people who support entrepreneurship. The goal of the advisory boards is to provide advice and direction on the curriculum and outreach efforts. The external advisory board will also assist in fundraising to support the center.
Other members of the Center for Entrepreneurship's executive team include: Vincent Amanor-Boadu, assistant professor of agricultural economics; Stephen Dyer, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Fred Guzek, associate professor of arts, sciences and business at K-State at Salina; and Jana Hawley, professor and head of the department of apparel, textiles and interior design.
Photo: Jeff Hornsby, professor and head of the new Center for Entrepreneurship, says building a program that spans all of K-State’s colleges and departments will be key to promoting entrepreneurship on campus. The center's working motto is "passionately creating value."