The Coleman Fellows Program was established to advance one of the funding strategies in the Foundation's entrepreneurship program: to catalyze cross-campus entrepreneurship. It was modeled on programs, which had been funded previously by the Foundation on eight separate college and university campuses across the nation. The most prominent of these was the initiative at California State University, Fresno, which has been in operation since 2005.
The local leaders of these early programs found that the Fellows Program model was effective in expanding access to entrepreneurship outside the schools of business at their institutions. This approach built interdisciplinary collaboration in program and course design and generated support for self-employment education across campus, including at administrative levels. Early Fellows who taught in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, mass communication, biomedical engineering and law found that students in their classes were interested in self-employment education which was taught in the language of their discipline.
An experienced entrepreneurship educator leads the Fellows Program at each participating campus. A key goal of the Program is to empower this individual to effectively spread self-employment education across his or her campus. This leader, known within the Program as a Project Director, is responsible for selecting Fellows, coaching and advising them and building a campus team. A key Program metric is the degree to which the Project Director reports an increased ability to spread self-employment and entrepreneurship education across campus. In each of the last two years, almost 90% of Project Directors have reported a significant increase in their ability to do this. Nearly 95% of Project Directors report strong collaboration among faculty fellows and levels of collaboration greater than in the prior year.
Faculty Fellows may either develop a new course in their disciplines that incorporates self-employment concepts (39% of Fellows did this in 2013-2014) or modify an existing course to include such material. Of those who modified a course, nearly all instituted changes, which affected at least 25% of course, content. During the 2013-2014 academic year Coleman Foundation Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows exposed more than 5,000 students to self-employment concepts.
Intended Impact of Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Education Funding:
- Emerging student entrepreneurs will experience richer experiential co-curricular activities over the course of their programs
- Emerging entrepreneurs will be successful at starting and running businesses
Goals of the Fellows Program:
- Build support for entrepreneurship education in non-business departments across campuses of participating schools;
- Advance the Coleman Foundation's Definition of Entrepreneurship with focus on self-employment and for-profit business creation; and
- Cultivate cohorts of entrepreneurship educators on individual campuses and across many disciplines outside the school of business.
Three Pillars of the Fellows Program:
- Fellows Summit (an in-person conference in August)
- Orients New Fellows on Fellows Program expectations and requirements and prepare New and Veteran Fellows to hit the ground running in the fall term
- Connects New and Veteran Fellows, New and Veteran Directors to one another to create relationships, which will last across the year
- Prepares Project Directors to lead high quality Fellows programs.
- Monthly Coffee Hours:
In order to maintain a higher level of engagement and connectivity within the community of Fellows throughout the year the foundation developed monthly online meetings or "Coffee Hours". Usually Coleman Fellows assemble in a conference room or one of their offices with their campus directors and connect as a group via WebEx online platform.
- Coleman Fellows Web Site:
This site is dedicated to the development of the Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Community of Practice ("the Coffee Cup"), created for the advancement of entrepreneurship education across campuses where Coleman Fellows do their work. Coleman Fellows and the Coffee Cup advance the Coleman definition of entrepreneurship: Self-employment through business ownership, which has significant elements of risk, control, and reward.
For additional information:
Colleges and universities may apply to participate in the Program by invitation only as a method to manage controlled growth of the initiative. If you would like to obtain more information about the Fellows Program please complete the contact us form.