Read more stories about
Montana Education/Business Partnerships >>

MATR Sponsor:

MATR Supporters:

Business endeavor - COT students gain real-world experience revamping campus bookstore & Entrepreneurship Education: Not Just for Business Majors Anymore

February 9, 2004View for printing

Paul Williamson got to thinking one day this past fall.

While ruminating on fresh ideas to grow the University of Montana's College of Technology, the school's dean bumped himself into a new concept.

By BETSY COHEN of the Missoulian ... /news01.txt

"If science students have science laboratories to explore new ideas, and students in computer science have computer laboratories to practice their skills, why can't the business program use the campus bookstore for its experiments?" he wondered.

The COT bookstore, he believed, the oft-forgotten tiny UM retail outlet in the middle of the South Avenue campus, would be an excellent opportunity for COT business students to learn real-world skills - and increase revenue for the school.

So he picked up the phone, called COT business faculty and held a meeting. It was decided not to just explore the idea, but to pull together a student board to direct the store, along with the store's longtime manager, Debra Leitzke.

Now, in the first weeks of spring semester, the bookstore is making small but significant changes to its operations, presentation and offerings because of the student input, said Brian Larson, director of COT's business management program.

It also has become the focus of six academic courses, such as Entrepreneurship and Principles of Marketing, Advertising and Promotions.

"The idea is the bookstore will become more responsive to what students want and to give our business students the opportunity to apply the skills they are learning in the classroom," Larson said. "I don't know why we haven't ever done it before, but it makes sense.

"If you want to increase business and increase profits, you need to talk to your customers - and that's basically what is going on now."

Students and the general public can expect to the store to transform slowly but significantly over the coming weeks and successive semesters, said Nichol Poole, a student bookstore board member.

"Our board met once last semester, and now we are getting together every week to talk about inventory, merchandising, adding new services and products," Poole said. "We are just starting to break ground on what we what to accomplish, but things are already under way."

Already the COT community has been surveyed to find out what is liked and disliked about the store's services and products. From the information collected, some immediate action has occurred.

The bookstore now offers a copy center, layout of merchandising has shifted for customer ease, and a billboard advertising the store has been erected on South Avenue.

Plans are in the works to offer more than unisex styles and sizes of Grizzly and UM logo wear, to add an ATM machine and postal services, create a larger snack area and develop a bookstore Web site.

"We really are just getting started but as we get further into the semester, we'll be learning the important structures that support the business and how to improve upon it," Poole said. "This is such a great resource for us as student and to have our hand in the business and utilize what we are learning in class is phenomenal."

"Our goal to is to bring some wonderful changes to the store, and to offer more resources and products to students and the general public."

Although the program is in its infancy, Williamson said he's pleased his notion has come to life.

"What we specialize in, here at the COT, is giving students experience so they can go out a make a difference in their chosen field," he said. "I think the business students have been given a fantastic opportunity to get practical, solid experience working with the bookstore, and that, I think, helps everyone."


Entrepreneurship Education: Not Just for Business Majors Anymore

Eleven Local University Faculty Selected in New Kauffman Entrepreneurship Training Program

Contact: Wendy Guillies (816) 932-1046

Kansas City, Mo. – Eleven faculty members from four area universities are the first participants in a new Kauffman Foundation-sponsored program designed to infuse entrepreneurship education into local college classrooms.

The new program, called the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars Program, provides funds to select faculty members from Rockhurst University, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri - Kansas City and William Jewell College for specialized training and professional development in entrepreneurship. These “Faculty Scholars,” who represent a variety of disciplines, then integrate what they’ve learned into the subjects they teach. The goal of the program is to enable area college students to access entrepreneurial thinking and skills, regardless of their field of study.

“By training college faculty in local schools, we can unleash the power of entrepreneurship among our students, which ultimately benefits the Kansas City region,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “We want all students – not just those enrolled in business or engineering schools – to have the skills that lead to greater opportunities for them, that result in more jobs for our community, that inspire innovation and that ultimately fuel prosperity for America. ” The teacher training program calls for the designation of a multi-university group of Scholars each year, the development of new university-wide curricula and educational materials, and opportunities to transfer the knowledge gained to faculty at other colleges and universities.

Traditionally, entrepreneurship refers to starting a new business or organization. But it goes well beyond that according to O. Homer Erekson, dean of the Henry W. Bloch School of Business & Public Administration at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. “It’s the process of identifying, developing and bringing a vision to life, be it an innovative idea or simply a better way of doing something,” he said. “Entrepreneurship applies not only to business ventures, but also to political decisions and social decisions, because a dimension of entrepreneurial thinking is advocacy and learning how to be an advocate for a position.”

The program works like this: Each year, the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars Program will select faculty members from a pool of nominated candidates who serve on the faculties of Rockhurst University, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri - Kansas City and William Jewell College. Each Faculty Scholar will receive a $15,000 grant to develop entrepreneurial skills and offset project expenses like travel and material acquisition. No more than one faculty member from each university can be from the business school.

The individuals chosen for the first class of Kauffman Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars are:

Rockhurst University

* Timothy Keane, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Management, Public Administration and Policy * Thomas Vontz, Assistant Professor, Education

University of Kansas

* Lisa Friis, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering * Sanjay Mishra, Associate Professor, Marketing * William Tsutsui, Associate Professor, History

University of Missouri Kansas City

* Rajinder Arora, Schutte Professor, Marketing * Anthony Luppino, Associate Professor, Law * Donald Matthews, Associate Professor, Director, Black Studies * Anil Misra, Professor, Civil Engineering

William Jewell College

* Sally Fletcher, Assistant Professor, Nursing * Walter Rychlewski, Assistant Professor, Business and Computer

Science William Jewell’s Rychlewski said one of the things he expects the Faculty Scholars will gain is a new appreciation for, and understanding of, the importance of change. “A lot of times, people who aren’t entrepreneurs are averse to change. But entrepreneurs are able to see the tremendous opportunities that emerge when change is taking place.”

The program offers a broad spectrum of activities for Faculty Scholars. On January 17, participants will convene for the first time for a day-long retreat, where they’ll study approaches to entrepreneurial thinking and craft an individually-tailored learning plan. Throughout the year, they’ll study entrepreneurship, envision entrepreneurial initiatives from their own fields of study, and share ideas with colleagues. They’ll also be expected to benchmark “Best Practices in Entrepreneurship” as applied to their field of expertise and to develop and teach an entrepreneurship course for at least two semesters to students in all academic disciplines.

“Through this initiative, we will have a group of new faculty in our area every year teaching entrepreneurship,” said Rob Chernow, senior vice president of entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation. “Equally important, we hope this program will provide a model for entrepreneurship education that can be transferred to university partnerships nationwide.”

Erekson agreed. “Over time, we’ll have a network of entrepreneurial scholars in Kansas City who continually work with each other. Eventually, that network will grow and grow, making it possible to unleash the very best thinking about entrepreneurship. Kansas City is already well-respected for its entrepreneurial focus. This program will further support the spirit of entrepreneurship in our area and beyond.”


The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the educational achievement of youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at
No reader comments so far. Be the first to comment by clicking the button below.

Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

E-mail this page to a friend!