URBANA – The University of Illinois' Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership was founded in 2004 to serve as a national model for programs developing those skills in students and faculty members in many different departments.
The academy offers programs and mentoring opportunities for faculty members and students, and each fall, it grants fellowships up to $15,000 to faculty members who submit proposals for revising or creating entrepreneurial programs in their disciplines. Last fall they were awarded to 13 UI faculty members and, for the first time, two Parkland College faculty members.
"To me, this program is one way to engage students in learning and faculty members in teaching," Fay Rouseff-Baker said.
"I love everything about this program," said Rouseff-Baker, Parkland's associate vice president for teaching and learning, who identified the opportunity, spread the word at Parkland and collected proposals from faculty there.
"It encourages faculty members to deliver learning in ways that continue to engage students and to design curriculum asking students to think in entrepreneurial ways," she said.
Rouseff-Baker said the UI offered one fellowship, and Parkland liked the idea so much, Parkland Foundation head Carl Meyer provided foundation money for a second fellowship.
"You get financial and academic support from the UI faculty, who make themselves available so we can bounce ideas around," said Toni Burkhalter, who's participating with faculty member Heidi Leuszler. "They want you to think outside the box, but they're available for questions."