Endowed positions are to universities what medals are to countries in the Olympics — an easy metric for assessing achievement. If the growth in the number of endowed positions is any indication, the discipline of entrepreneurship in the United States is well positioned for a gold medal. The number of chairs and professorships in entrepreneurship and related fields grew 71 percent, from 237 in 1999 to 406 in 2003. Economists talk about "dollar votes" or voting with one’s checkbook, and if that is truly possible, then the popular and government evaluation of endowed positions in entrepreneurship is highly positive, with over a quarter of a billion dollars being spent on newly endowed positions in the past four years. And the situation in the United States parallels that worldwide, with 563 endowed positions around the world, up from 271 in 1999.
The characteristics of these positions have been a matter of intense curiosity on the parts of faculty, deans, funding sources, and the media. Funded by the Kauffman Foundation and researched and authored by Jerome A. Katz, Ph.D., the 2004 Endowed Positions Survey details the results of the fifth and latest of a series of surveys conducted on endowed positions in entrepreneurship and related fields. This survey discusses results for salaries, stipend types and amounts, travel and research budgets, course loads, and endowments — for 52 percent of all eligible endowed positions and more than 70 percent of those faculty most closely identified with the field of entrepreneurship. In the field of entrepreneurship, the count of endowed positions has been one of the most widely reported techniques for showing the growth of the field in the popular and academic press.