Coleman Fellows

Coleman Foundation Fellowship End of Year Report

Travis Yates, Instructor of Communication, Quincy University

June, 2011


This was my first year as a Coleman Fellow and in reflecting on my initial course – Corporate Video Production - a successful one. Students learned the entrepreneurial aspects of running a small business while gaining invaluable experience in their field and portfolio-building material. I received a valuable introduction to entrepreneurship while incorporating my professional skills into a course that met students’ needs on several levels.

Personally, the highlight of teaching an entrepreneurial-based course was the SEA conference in February 2011. While the conference was designed for students, the overall atmosphere of the conference was refreshing and meeting other Coleman Fellows proved to be worthwhile to a first-year Fellow such as myself. Upon returning from the conference, I incorporated reflection time into the course to allow the students to share their individual experiences with each other. They gained a better understanding of the overall meaning of entrepreneurship as it applies to the fine arts arena and began to understand the importance of networking. I was able to incorporate several ideas gleaned from other Fellows, and will continue to do so in future courses.

Students worked with on and off-campus organizations to provide corporate video production services while working as a team under strict deadlines. Portfolio projects included a web-based promotional video for the Quincy University Wellness Center and a public service announcement for CareNet, a local non-profit agency. We did not charge for our services due to the non-profit nature of our clients, but did break down each project using a hypothetical budget that students were expected to balance.

Students delivered each project on time and within budget. The CareNet public service announcement is currently airing on the ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates in Quincy, Ill., making the students “published” commercial producers. The Coleman Foundation Grant money was integral in making this happen, as professional equipment was needed in order to deliver broadcast quality audio and video to the television stations. Additionally, students completed the course having worked with a variety of professional equipment, preparing them for their own entrepreneurial ventures in the future. Future funding from the Coleman Foundation will be used to maintain current equipment and purchasing new materials in a rapidly-changing video production field.

Between the course activities and the SEA Conference, I believe both my students and I have benefited greatly from this experience. Through my peers, I have gained a better understanding of entrepreneurship and how best to teach it. My students were introduced to several core entrepreneurial concepts including working within budgets and deadlines, networking, and pricing and selling your work. Certainly there is a bit of a “nothing gambled, nothing lost” theme here, as the students did not incur any startup costs nor face any actual risk themselves. However this is a theme among all college courses – incorporating the real world into a classroom made up of chairs and chalkboards. What the entrepreneurial aspect created in the course was getting the students out of the classroom where they interacted with and created tangible products for real organizations.