The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Executive Summary – Kauffman Campuses Proposal
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requests a grant million from the E. Marion Kauffman Foundation’s College Initiative. The grant will ensure the continued development and implementation of an ambitious program designed to build entrepreneurial capacity and culture at the U of I and other doctoral extensive institutions. The University is committed to matching the Kauffman award $2 for $1; this commitment is discussed in greater detail elsewhere in the proposal.
The U of I proposal will address major challenges facing the development of entrepreneurship in American higher education. A comprehensive inventory of the status of entrepreneurship education in over 3,100 two- and four-year colleges and universities conducted in 2002 confirmed a weakness in the academic legitimacy of entrepreneurship. Problems include the lack of tenure track faculty to teach entrepreneurship courses; exacerbation of this by the expansion of entrepreneurship across multiple disciplines; lack of doctoral programs to educate and train the future professoriate; and failure to support faculty research to develop the scholarly bibliography that will legitimize the field. These assertions are supported by respected academics who advocate for entrepreneurship education.
In the spring of 2000, the Illinois legislature unanimously passed a resolution that stressed the University’s role in economic development. The U of I proposal was developed in the spirit of this resolution. The proposal, in placing a major emphasis on its 10,000 graduate and professional students and its world-class faculty of 2,700, will build upon the University’s existing undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurial initiatives.
The U of I is among the top three doctoral granting universities in the world.1 Ten of the doctoral programs are among the top 10 nationwide and more than 60 of the graduate programs and specialty areas rank in the top 25 in the country—more than any other university in the United States (see Appendix A for National Research Council rankings). The catalyst of the Illinois Initiative is the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Development. To develop entrepreneurial proficiency in its students, faculty, and staff, the Academy will have three major components: Academy hosted programs, support of new and existing activities in units across campus, and entrepreneurial engagement. The first component has six discrete parts: the Center for Advanced Study and Research in Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows Program, the Graduate Student Fellows Research Program, the Post-Doctoral Fellows Program, the Mentor Program, the Seminar in Entrepreneurship Program, and the Office of Information and Research Services in Entrepreneurship. The second component is an intra-University initiative to fund the promotion, enhancement, and integration of new and existing programs offered to graduates and undergraduates in the University’s extensive but currently decentralized entrepreneurial activities. The third component, entrepreneurial engagement, has six parts: the U of I Extension Program in Entrepreneurship, the Graduate Internship Program, the U of I Alumni Entrepreneur Compact, the State of Illinois Entrepreneurship Clearinghouse, the AAU-Land Grant Plan, and the Tri-University Alliance.
To encourage the spread of entrepreneurship awareness, competence, and leadership, the U of I will disseminate its model to a distinct set of constituencies, targeting a group of 91 AAU and land grant colleges and universities that annually grant over 60 percent of all earned doctorates in the United States.