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Intellectual/Social (I/S) Entrepreneurship in Academia. Liora Bresler, U of Illinois College of Education, Professor. Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership, Fellow. School of Music, Fine and Applied Arts, Affiliate. Campus Honors Program, Faculty. Two inter-related goals.

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Intellectual/Social (I/S) Entrepreneurship in Academia

Liora Bresler, U of Illinois

  • College of Education, Professor.

  • Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership, Fellow.

  • School of Music, Fine and Applied Arts, Affiliate.

  • Campus Honors Program, Faculty.


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Two inter-related goals

  • Enculturation of potential faculty, pointing at possibilities and re-definition of what a faculty can be;

  • Case-studies of entrepreneurship in academia, focusing on diverse disciplines and areas (e.g., humanities, engineering, sciences, arts).


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Current enculturation

  • Tends to highlight the production of knowledge.

  • Dichotomy of “thinkers” versus “doers”.

  • Job security as a central feature.

  • Scholarship presented as a lone endeavor (epitomized in the process of writing a dissertation). In some areas, discouraging collaborations.


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Discerning realities from myths

  • Knowledge is key, but it does not have to be of the “ivory tower” kind.

  • “Doing” in academe is actually rewarded and recognized.


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Unacknowledged aspects:

  • Academics are often people of deep commitments and passions (Neuman, 2006).

  • Academics aspire to be innovative and cutting edge (part of the academic ethos and telos).

  • Academics are self directed.

  • Academics are perseverant.

  • Teaching (essential part of academe) aims at social.


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Potential tensions

  • Security (“tenure system”) versus risk taking.

  • Tradition versus innovation.

  • Achievement versus social justice.


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Definitions of “Entrepreneur”

  • Traditional definitions: “seizing opportunities, generating a valuable product or service”.

  • Undertake a venture. Bring to completion. Tolerate risks.

  • Innovation as organized, systematic, rationale.


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New ways of thinking and being

  • Create something new that changes or transmutes values, opening a new space for human action. (Spinosa, Flores and Dreyfus, 1997).


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Intellectual/Social entrepreneurship

  • One that highlights intellectual endeavors, expanding knowledge (Richard Cherwitz, Thomas Darwin).

  • The knowledge benefits society, doing good. Social Entrepreneur, started in the 1980s: “promote social good in the communities they serve”.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship ( U of Texas, at Austen)

  • Intellectual Entrepreneurship is a philosophy and vision of education viewing academics as "innovators" and "agents of change."

  • Intellectual Entrepreneurship is academic engagement for the purpose of changing lives.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • It focuses on creating cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations designed to produce intellectual advancements with a capacity to provide real solutions to society's problems and needs.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • It moves the mission of institutions of higher learning from "advancing the frontiers of knowledge" and "preparing tomorrow's leaders" to also "serving as engines of economic and social development."


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • It focuses on creating cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations designed to produce intellectual advancements with a capacity to provide real solutions to society's problems and needs.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • In the process, the role of faculty member and student evolves from that of "intellectual provocateur" to becoming what might be called an "intellectual entrepreneur.“


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Intellectual Entrepreneurship includes a readiness to seek out opportunities, undertake the responsibility associated with each and tolerate the uncertainty that comes with initiating genuine innovation.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Intellectual Entrepreneurship changes the model and metaphor of higher education from one of "apprenticeship-certification-entitlement" to one of"discovery-ownership-accountability."


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Intellectual Entrepreneurship is premised on the belief that intellect is not limited to the academy and entrepreneurship is not restricted to or synonymous with business. Entrepreneurship is a process of cultural innovation.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • While the creation of material wealth is one expression of entrepreneurship, at a more profound level entrepreneurship is an attitude for engaging the world.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Intellectual entrepreneurs, both inside and outside universities, take risks and seize opportunities, discover and create knowledge, innovate, collaborate and solve problems in any number of social realms: corporate, non-profit, government, and education.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Collaboration demands mutual humility and respect, joint ownership of learning and co-creation of an unimagined potential for innovation--qualities that move universities well beyond the typical elitist sense of "service." Knowledge, after all, involves the integration of theory, practice and production.


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Intellectual Entrepreneurship (con’t)

  • Teachers and students come to accept responsibility not only for what is learned and how, but are also accountable to the community for how they apply that learning. IE are encouraged to act as ‘citizen scholars’ and ‘social entrepreneurs’ with their intellectual capital leveraging knowledge for social good.


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Why the new concept?

  • Academe can easily be seen as an “ivory tower”, detached from the real world.

  • Academics have many qualities that seem to be uniquely compatible with entrepreneurship.

  • The new roles of academe and the changing realities mean that we have more to gain (and more to lose if we don’t change).


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A changing context: Interdisciplinarity

  • There is increasing recognition of unprecedented opportunities to expand the role of academics beyond traditional, often self-imposed boundaries.

  • The crossing of disciplinary boundaries and the ensuing cross-fertilization has generated new disciplines such as computational neuroscience, biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology, psychological economics, cultural anthropology, and social psychology.


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Information technologies

  • Not only do contents of academia change, but also their formats are being shaped by new information technologies, and their audiences expanded. While these trends have evolved over a long period of time, they have vastly accelerated in the last ten years, reinforcing each other.


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New opportunities

  • The new opportunities created by these trends can shape research, teaching, and service. In research, we note new questions and directions. Responding to the cross-fertilization of disciplines, teaching invites the creation of new curricula.


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A doctoral course:“Faculty education”

  • Case-studies of academics who manifest Intellectual/Social Entrepreneurship.

  • An examination of Intrapreneurship.

  • Diversity of disciplines and colleges (e.g., Library Information Science; Chemistry; Engineering; Archeology/anthropology; Art Education; Music Performance; Human Resource Education).

  • Diversity of perspectives (e.g., faculty, Associate Dean; Director of AEL; Vice-Chancellor of Research; Director of Music Center; President)


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Questions:

  • What characterizes intrapreneurs in academia?

  • (What characterizes entrepeneurial action? John Gartner, 1988)

  • What facilitates Intrapreneurships?

  • What hinders it?

  • An underlying question: What can be done to promote Intrapreneurship in academia?


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Issues

  • Evolving definitions of entrepreneurship.

  • Examining entrepreneurial variants (intrapreneurship, focusing on intellectual and social aspects). Cross-appropriating intellectual and social spaces with entrepreneurship.

  • Negotiating the academic system.


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Data sources

  • Conversations with Intellectual Entrepreneurs and facilitators.

  • Observations of entrepreneurial events (Vivaldi Project; Black Chorus).

  • Readings of related materials.

  • Discussions of evolving issues and themes.


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Case-studies (qualitative)

  • Case: bounded system.

  • World View: Interpretive (Social Sciences).

  • Goal: Understanding rather than explanation. Meaning rather than prediction.

  • Methods: Unstructured interview; observations; analysis of materials. Prolonged engagement, depth.

  • Meaning: Description, interpretation (evaluation).

  • Assumption: Contextuallity is essential.

  • Criteria: Transferability rather than generalizability.


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From the syllabus

  • The overall goal of the course is to develop an entrepreneurial perspective of the role of faculty in academe.

  • The three components of the academic endeavor--research, teaching, and service--will be conceptualized as highly entrepreneurial activities.


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Empowering students

  • Building on their individual passions and strengths, the course will empower doctoral students (prospective faculty) to experience each of these three components of academia along the three entrepreneurial axes: recognize opportunities, acquire resources, and create a new entity of value.


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Teaching, research, and service

Specifically, the course will address the following:

  • Expansion of contents, forms, and audiences in teaching;

  • Choosing research questions for significance and impact, garnering means for effective execution, and creating avenues to bring the fruits of research to society; Refocusing of academic service as a vehicle for the building and nurturing of intellectual community.


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New audiences, new intellectual communities

  • In attending to new audiences (e.g., minorities, remote students world-wide), teaching can involve the exploration of new structures and media. Service draws on these to build and nurture new intellectual communities.


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Creativity and resourcefulness

  • This course is seen as an important part of the education of doctoral students, in preparing them to be resourceful, dynamic faculty, responsive to the needs and opportunities in the field, drawing on their visions, creativity, and skills, to create new endeavors.


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Emerging issues

  • Issues related to academic Intrapreneurship (reduced risks; bureaucratic aspects of the system).

  • Rich diversity of paths and inside contexts.

  • Characteristics of successful (fulfilled) academic Intellectual/social Entrepreneurs.


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The notion of Intrapreneurship

  • An Intrapreneur is the person who focuses on innovation and creativity and who transforms an idea into a profitable venture, by operating within the organizational environment. Thus, Intrapreneurs are Inside entrepreneurs who follow their founder’s example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrapreneurship

  • The profit can be financial, social, or intellectual.


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Intrapreneurship

  • Intrapreneurship is the practice of entrepreneurial skills and approaches by or within a company or at home. Employees, perhaps engaged in a special project within a larger firm are supposed to behave as entrepreneurs, even though they have the resources and capabilities of the larger firm to draw upon.


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Intrapreneurship

  • Capturing the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial management (trying things until successful, learning from failures, attempting to conserve resources, etc.) is claimed to be valuable in otherwise static organizations.


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Motivational goals of academic I/S Entrepreneurs:

  • Passion for a subject.

  • A sense of mission: social justice, commitment to educate in its broadest sense.

  • Curiosity, a quest for understanding.

  • Internal locus of control.

  • Carry something to fruition.


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Characteristics of I/S Intrapreneurs

  • Openness to emergent possibilities, alertness.

  • Attention to opportunities rather than obstacles (risks).

  • Need for achievement (not identical to recognition).

  • Highly connected to people.

  • Caring for others, ability to listen (humility), giving, commitment.

  • Independence and tolerance for disagreement, juxtaposed with the ability to negotiate a system.


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Potential (resolved)

tensions

  • Security (“tenure system”) versus Risk taking: More Entrepreneurial once tenured.

  • Tradition versus Innovation: Possible to combine both.

  • Achievement versus social justice: Achievement and a sense of identity is built on social projects.


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Academic contexts

  • Stage of career (mid-to-later career). Associate and Full tended to be more intrapreneurial.

  • Openness of leadership (varies within the same university. Department heads have a major role in shaping the well-being of I/S intrapreneurs).

  • Nested values: Fit of individual’s agenda with institutional “image” (visibility valued across disciplines; social justice). When lack of fit, the entrepreneur searches for another setting.


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Entrepreneurs

Creativity

Focus on possibility

Improvisation, flexibility.

Informal networks,

Focus on venture.

Administrators

Analysis

Focus on Resources

Scripted procedures, bureaucratic

Hierarchical

Focus on organization.

Entrepreneurs vs. Administrators


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Students reported having gained an expanded vision of what they could do as entrepreneurs.

Overall, positive evaluation of the course (rated as “excellent”).

From my perspective, this served as an exploratory work. Next stages will include in-depth study of 4-5 intellectual/social academics, and larger survey information.

Course goals met


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This is a beginning… they could do as entrepreneurs.

  • A future study will involve in-depth interviews of faculty, and intensive observations of entrepreneurial projects, as well as a survey across campus that investigates the characteristics across larger populations.

    [email protected]


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