February 2020 newsletter
Discover how liberal arts and entrepreneurship work together to encourage innovation and problem solving. Then learn more how a program at St. Olaf College is helping prevent the “sophomore slump,” which can lead to a decline in academic performance.
When you think of entrepreneurship you probably start with Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. But the liberal arts — and Minnesota Private Colleges — should come to mind as well.
Entrepreneurial studies is a growing field in higher education and that’s certainly true for Minnesota Private Colleges. From maker spaces to institutes for entrepreneurial studies to innovation labs, each college has its own take on entrepreneurship.
At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, for example, the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies focuses on connecting students with entrepreneurs, offering resources to students on how to start a business and coordinating entrepreneurial related events like pitch competitions.
“I’d argue entrepreneurial studies connects very clearly to the liberal arts,” said Christine Beech, executive director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and assistant professor in the business department at Saint Mary’s. “One of the foundational pieces of entrepreneurial studies is the idea of having a growth mindset and design thinking to address a problem. When we teach entrepreneurship we are really teaching problem solving.”
The Kabara Institute also collaborates with Winona State University and Minnesota State College Southeast on a startup competition call Win Start, Beech said. “It’s a great experience for students to connect with students from other institutions and learn how to develop interdisciplinary teams.”
Saint Mary’s also offers an entrepreneurship major and minor as part of the business department.
At the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, entrepreneurial studies are seen through the lens of the creative mind. “About 10 percent of the U.S. economy’s workforce is self-employed but in the creative sector it’s 35 percent and in many industries its much higher than that,” said Stephen Rueff, professor and department chair of the Arts Entrepreneurship department. “This makes entrepreneurial skills very important for people working in the creative field.”
Entrepreneurial studies at MCAD involves collaboration with community members as clients on outside-of-the-classroom projects. The collaborations have the goal of creating educational outcome that can be implemented in the business and arts world. The projects also teach students about the collaborative process and how to work in interdisciplinary teams. MCAD even hosts an annual event for creative entrepreneurs called PitchFest, which awards $5,000 to undergraduate students.
Artists and creatives often use the skills learned in entrepreneurial studies in their jobs but also in their side gigs. “Many barriers to starting and running a business have been removed in recent years,” Rueff said. “Anyone can make a website and start selling their work and this makes the entrepreneur mindset that much more valuable.”
At Augsburg University the focus is on bringing entrepreneurs on campus and into the classroom to help teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. These relationships range from partnerships with the Mayo Clinic, 3M and Medtronic but also includes entrepreneurs from small- and medium-sized companies.
As part of Augsburg University’s new Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, Augsburg has included an innovation center. The space is designed to combine the sciences and business so students can get a unique interdisciplinary experience, said George Dierberger, MBA director and assistant professor at Augsburg. The classrooms are built on a modular framework that allows for flexibility — supporting multiple different disciplines studying in one room.
“Entrepreneurship exists in all organizations. Most large companies are looking for entrepreneurs and many give employees dedicated time to innovate — it’s the Art Fry Post-It Note story from 3M,” said Dierberger. “Innovation can be hard in larger organization but that makes these entrepreneurial skills that much more valuable.”
How some of our other colleges are supporting entrepreneurs
The Carleton experience offers students interested in entrepreneurship the opportunity to develop a diverse set of skills. Instead of training students for one narrow career path, the Carleton curriculum teaches skills that last a lifetime: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, effective communication and the flexibility to adapt to dynamic situations. For budding entrepreneurs, courses, off-campus study programs, fellowships, internships, student organizations and alumni networking are all part of the entrepreneurship pathway at Carleton. Students can also put their for-profit and social entrepreneurship ideas to the test in the annual Carleton Start-Up Competition, which pairs groups of students with an alumni mentor and results in a fellowship for the winning team that can be used for summer stipends or expenses to support their start-up venture.
College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University
The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University provides classes, coaching and assistance to entrepreneurs. The center builds relationships among students, faculty, alums and community members to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit. The flagship McNeely program is the Entrepreneur Scholars Program, designed for students of all majors. This undergraduate certificate program includes a three-course sequence for accepted students, national/international travel to learn from entrepreneurs, access to mentors and a capstone entrepreneurial experience (launching their venture and presenting a comprehensive business plan). In addition, students of all majors can…
- build their entrepreneurial mindset and toolkit with an array of 1-2 credit entrepreneurship classes.
- access McNeely Center resources, mentors and connections to further their dorm ventures and ideas.
- run in the annual David Forster Spark to Start Campus Challenge (Fall) or make their best pitch at the Eric Rego Big Idea Competition (Spring).
Concordia College (Moorhead)
Concordia College’s goal is for its graduates is to flourish in radically changing workplaces. The college knows they will address major challenges of this century. To that end, graduates will be resourceful 21st Century learners who integrate knowledge across disciplines in an interdisciplinary, integrative and issued-based approach. To help achieve this goal, Concordia has launched an entrepreneurial mindset certificate and minor to complement any major at the college. The cutting-edge curriculum focuses on empowering students to learn how to think and act like an entrepreneur, recognizing opportunity, solving problems and creating value. Classes include a mixture of business and liberal arts students working together to solve real world problems. The college has hired a Director of the Entrepreneurship Center who will lead entrepreneurial efforts across the campus and community.
Gustavus Adolphus College
Each spring, the Gustavus Adolphus College Department of Economics and Management hosts the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup. Open to students from all majors, the student entrepreneurship competition is a chance for students to showcase their innovative ideas. Students develop their ideas into feasible, scalable business models by engaging with faculty, coaches and mentors. Students then present to a panel of judges for the opportunity to win a share of $20,000 in seed funding. Entrepreneurship at Gustavus blends academic instruction, alumni coaching and challenging competition to help students develop entrepreneurial skills. In addition to the annual Gustie Cup competition, there are smaller "Shark Tank"-style events, opportunities to apply for seed money grants and access to alumni mentors.
Emerging entrepreneurs have options at Hamline. The Innovation Studies course offered through the Physics Department focuses on product development from ideation to finalization. It also covers market analysis, financial planning and intellectual property. The Hamline School of Business offers Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a class that teaches the fundamentals of small business ownership with an emphasis on the development of practical, usable knowledge. Both classes include visits and interactions with successful entrepreneurs and innovators.
Driven by the college’s mission, the entrepreneurial spirit has been a part of Macalester’s culture from the very beginning. Macalester’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation teaches entrepreneurship as a process and mindset by nurturing students’ curiosity, confidence and hope. Along with classes, Macalester offers a wide range of programming from 24-hour hackathons and seed funding to summer accelerator and internship programs and a dedicated center to help students bring ideas to life. In the Idea Lab, a central hub for critical making, students (and faculty and staff) think differently about what they are teaching and learning and from there, innovation takes root. The urban environment of the Twin Cities provides an incredible ecosystem for students to experience entrepreneurship firsthand, while alumni across the world provide entrepreneurial connections. Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Macalester believes in giving every individual the opportunity to harness the market and other systems to make change.
St. Olaf College
Entrepreneurship at St. Olaf seeks to support all students as they brainstorm, collaborate and connect over meaningful ideas. St. Olaf coaches students to use their liberal arts education to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. The college, in turn, provides the support, guidance and connections that students need to be successful. The St. Olaf Entrepreneurial Scholars program pairs students with summer internships in entrepreneurial ventures. The Ole Cup, an annual student entrepreneurial competition, provides funding and resources to support winning business ideas. And a new makerspace provides all students with access to 3D printing, prototyping and modeling materials. St. Olaf also offers 20 entrepreneurship-related courses and has awarded more than $615,000 in entrepreneurial funding to students and their businesses.
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas’ Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, ranked one of Princeton Review's top programs for entrepreneurship and #1 in Minnesota, is a one-of-a-kind center for entrepreneurial education and community resources. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, as well as community resources to support new ventures, family businesses and corporate entrepreneurs. In a world of challenges, the Schulze School cultivates the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers and innovators.
By Tom Lancaster
Excerpted with permission from St. Olaf College. View original article.
The sophomore year of college can be a tough one for many students. They’re no longer transitioning to college as first-year students, and they haven’t yet delved into upper level coursework, mentored research, internships, and off-campus study. Some second-year students struggle with what’s known as the “sophomore slump,” or a decline in academic performance, and most are laser focused on the next step of choosing a major.
To help sophomores navigate the murky waters of that second year, St. Olaf developed the annual Quo Vadis — Latin for “Where are you going?” — Retreat in 2011 as a 24-hour, off-campus experience at Camp Ihduhapi in Loretto, Minnesota. The 85 or so students who attend each year interact with upper-class students, faculty and staff members, and young alumni who share their vocational journeys and offer ideas for living an engaged and purposeful life.
“The second year is so important for making decisions about your major field of study, for starting to identify a career path, and for defining how you’re going to make the best use of your time at St. Olaf,” says Nate Jacobi, associate director of career development, data, and operations at the Piper Center. “This event is just for sophomores. It focuses on vocational discernment and asks the foundational questions of ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘What’s important to me?’ and ‘How do I get where I want to be?’”
The retreat helps students think along those lines through discussion and reflection. St. Olaf College Pastor Matthew Marohl opens the event by speaking on vocational discernment — the process of discovering how your skills and interests meet the needs of the world, which is often a new concept to sophomores. Juniors and seniors — mostly past Quo Vadis attendees — lead small group discussions, faculty and staff members share “crossroad” events that altered or shaped their lives, and young alumni provide insight into their career paths, sharing both their stumbles and their successes.
“The students map out their interests, experiences, and influences, and then reflect on where those are leading them,” Jacobi says. “We talk about taking ownership of your own definition of success and not one that’s been projected onto you.”
The Quo Vadis Retreat also serves as an introduction to the Piper Center’s other programs, as well as additional campus resources students can take advantage of as they begin to explore and develop their paths through college and beyond.
“Quo Vadis is a mix of discernment, leadership and personal development, social connections, and networking,” Jacobi says. “It’s about a space for sophomores to step away and reflect on where they want to go.”
In academic year 2017-18, women earned 49 percent of bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines* at our 17 member institutions. That compares with 37 percent at the University of Minnesota and 34 percent at Minnesota State universities.
*STEM fields include biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, engineering technologies and engineering‐related fields, mathematics and statistics, natural resources and conservation, and physical sciences.
St. Thomas unveils center for microgrid research
The University of St. Thomas has launched a world-class Center for Microgrid Research, one of a handful of premier and educational facilities of its kind in North America.
Dr. Suzanne Rivera named 17th president of Macalester College
On Feb 3, the Macalester College Board of Trustees announced their unanimous approval of Dr. Rivera's appointment. She will begin her term this summer.
Former Colombian president encourages listeners to be bold
Nobel Peace Prize winner says aim high and be ambitious during McCarthy Lecture at Saint John’s University.
CSP’s enrollment increases for 14th consecutive spring semester
Overall enrollment at Concordia University, St. Paul increased for the 14th consecutive spring semester as it reported a headcount of 4,885 students.
St. Scholastica inaugurates 13th president
The College of St. Scholastica inaugurated longtime higher education leader Dr. Barbara McDonald as its 13th president during a ceremony on campus Feb. 10.
CSB named a top-producing school for Fulbright awards again
The College of Saint Benedict has been named a top producer of 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. students by the U.S. Department of State.
Theory meets practice in Gustavus applied marketing course
Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus, lawyer and entrepreneur Marshall Lichty taught a unique January interim experience course focused on marketing start-up companies.
Augsburg's President to Speak March 11 at The Forum on Workplace Inclusion
Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow will share Augsburg's efforts to make higher education more accessible to diverse students.
Saint Mary’s University graduates rank high for earning potential
The Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal reported that, per federal data, Minnesota’s highest first-year earners are certified registered nurse anesthetists who earned their master’s degrees from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
New play therapy certificate at Bethel
Bethel University launches a new Play Therapy Certificate program in fall 2020, providing the specialized training required to become a Registered Play Therapist.
Carleton alumni land on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for video game start-up
Carleton College alums Lucy Stevens and Charlie Anderson along with two others co-founded Social Cipher while in college. Their game, “Ava,” is about an autistic girl who travels through space.
Six Katies named Fulbright 2020-21 semi-finalists
A combined six St. Catherine University students and alumni have reached the semi-finalist stage of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Mahle Lecture to address divine inclusion
Hamline University welcomes Bishop Karen P. Oliveto for the Spring 2020 Mahle Lecture series and related events.
St. Olaf among top producers of U.S. Fulbright students
With 13 St. Olaf College graduates named Fulbright fellows for 2019-20, the college is once again one of the top producers of Fulbright fellows among liberal arts colleges across the nation.
Bush Foundation Grant awarded for Moorhead Community Resilience Project
The Foundation awarded $207,000 for the project, and Concordia College will administer it with the express purpose of bringing community partners together around a common goal.
Join us for Scholars at the Capitol
Students from our colleges will be in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda the morning of March 11 to talk about their recent research efforts.
Schedule of winter and spring campus visit events released
Students can get a jump-start on campus visits by attending visit events during the winter or spring. Follow the link to view the event schedule.
Explore summer enrichment programs at our colleges
To help busy parents, the Council had compiled a quick list of summer offerings hosted by our colleges for middle and high school students.
Minnesota Private College Fund releases annual Donor Report
The 2018-19 report includes scholarship recipient profiles, information about the Minnesota Private College Fund and a list of donors.
Facts and policy background about our colleges
The Council has compiled key facts about our 17 member institutions as well as new policy background sheets on state impact, access, affordability, debt and outcomes.
Education without liberal arts is a threat to humanity, argues UBC president
CBC Radio Jan. 14, 2020
A call for more aid, and more accountability
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 30, 2020
Four ways to help your college student grow up
The New York Times, Feb. 4, 2020
What Minnesota college grads should know about the job search
Star Tribune, Feb. 11, 2020
Ignore the hype. College is worth it
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 13, 2020