Webster University is the recipient of a Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program Grant from The Coleman Foundation for the second consecutive year. The $35,000 grant provides funding for faculty members to introduce entrepreneurship concepts into the curriculum for non-business majors. In addition to the funding received from The Coleman Foundation, Webster University Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Julian Schuster, College of Arts & Sciences Dean David Carl Wilson, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology Dean Benjamin Ola. Akande and School of Communications Dean Eric Rothenbuhler are providing $20,000 in matching funds.
Last year, the grant enabled five faculty members from the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and School of Communications to become Coleman Fellows and to design new entrepreneurship courses in non-business areas. As a result of their work and the combined efforts of associate professors and project directors Barrett Baebler and Joseph Roberts, Webster University will double the entrepreneurship certificate offerings taught during the 2014-15 academic year.
“This program enables Webster University to enhance its existing entrepreneurship initiatives and create new faculty champions in the area of entrepreneurship,” Roberts said. “Not only will this grant support our 2013 faculty fellows, but it will assist seven new faculty fellows in their efforts to develop courses and projects that support entrepreneurship education and inspire students in non-business disciplines to gain self-employment skills and experience.”
In addition to the existing tracks in business, photography, music, audio production and sports business, Webster University will offer new entrepreneurship certificates for students studying film, mobile computing, video production, graphic design and animation.
“Webster University’s entrepreneurship program is designed to help students gain the necessary real-world skills and abilities to become self-employed or start and grow an entrepreneurial venture,” Baebler explained. “From starting careers in the arts to nonprofits, small businesses and more, we want to ensure our students graduate with the skills necessary to build their own business. Our entrepreneurship curriculum is designed to bring the street to our classroom and the classroom to the street.”
In 2014, the faculty fellows program will expand to include faculty members from the College of Arts & Sciences. “The College of Arts & Sciences is grateful for the Coleman Foundation’s support as Webster works to encourage the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit among our students,” Wilson said. “Many of our programs will see their curriculum enriched by the efforts of the faculty whose work this grant funds.”
Dean Rothenbuhler of the School of Communications added, “Business skills and entrepreneurship are crucial to all of our students, and we are pleased to continue our participation in this program. This grant helps our faculty educate our students for success in a world where change is the only guarantee, and as young entrepreneurs, they can see that change is their opportunity to create their own success.”
Webster’s continuing efforts to promote entrepreneurship are connected to the university’s goal of eventually teaching entrepreneurship in classes at every Webster University campus location in the United States.
“The Coleman Foundation has validated our commitment in the Walker School to invest in the development of building entrepreneurship and we appreciate the support,” Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean of the Walker School, said.
The Coleman Fellowship Program is a nationwide program designed to infuse entrepreneurship across non-business disciplines; the arts, science, technology, and communications. This is the sixth year that the Coleman Foundation Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows program has awarded grants, with nearly $500,000 in grants distributed to 19 colleges and universities in the United States. For more information, visit www.colemanfoundation.org.