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'Networkshop' unites ASU community for day of learning

March 22, 2010

Fifty faculty, staff, students and administrators gathered for an all-day ASU "networkshop" March 11 to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and enhancement of ASU’s entrepreneurship initiative. Representatives from more than 20 ASU schools, colleges, institutes and offices attended.

“The Entrepreneurship Networkshop is an experience that everyone at ASU would enjoy,” said Ryan Brady, president of the Downtown Phoenix campus' Council of Academic Advisors and academic success specialist for the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “Not only was I able to provide some information on my impact and reach as an academic adviser, there was some fantastic information from areas of social media and communication that all members of the university could use in their efforts.”

“Every person I met, I thought, ‘There’s a connection!’” said Janel White-Taylor, clinical associate professor from the College of Teacher Education and Leadership. “I felt for so long like I had been doing my program alone, but now I see everyone who can help and who are also doing really innovative things.” White-Taylor leads Project eXcellence’s youth entrepreneurship program, which pairs ASU students in assisting with the development of fifth- through 12th-grade entrepreneurship projects.

When asked how entrepreneurship can apply to so many disciplines, Maggie McGannon, innovation fellow in the Office of University Initiatives, said: “Entrepreneurship is a way to address local and global challenges – to see challenges as opportunities and transform ideas to impact. At ASU, we don’t limit entrepreneurship education to the business school. Entrepreneurship opportunities are open to students, faculty and staff of all disciplines.”

As part of the day’s activities, attendees participated in a speed-networking activity, exchanged ideas in small group discussions and learned from presentations led by experts from across the university, including Undergraduate Admissions and the Provost Communication Group, to name a few.

Manju Ramadurai, student activities coordinator, reported that she learned a great deal from the presentations that can help her excel in her role of working with student organizations.

“It was great to learn what ASU resources are available and how to effectively use them,” Ramadurai said.

Participants also learned about the ASU Pathways to Entrepreneurship Grant (PEG). Faculty and staff are encouraged to enhance the student experience by implementing projects that change the way ASU students learn about and experience entrepreneurship and innovation. The PEG awards funding to implement programs that promise impact.

“Faculty and staff from all disciplines and university functions are encouraged to apply for grant funding,” said Margaret Burch, director of evaluation and budget for the Office of University Initiatives. To apply, faculty and staff should first send a letter of interest to If the idea is accepted, the faculty or staff member’s team may submit a proposal for Pathways to Entrepreneurship Grant (PEG) funding. The first review of letters of intent will begin March 22.

Funds are available to students as well, in the form of seed funding awarded through the ASU Innovation Challenge. The challenge offers multiple tracks of student participation, rewarding the most innovative venture and project ideas with up to $20,000 for implementation. The deadline to submit challenge applications is March 26. More information can be found at

Sidnee Peck, leader of the My Life Venture certificate in entrepreneurship, said that the networkshop allowed her to identify possible partners for curriculum collaboration and PEG proposal submission. Students who wish to earn the Certificate in Knowledge Entrepreneurship are required to take two approved capstone courses within their discipline, and Peck is seeking faculty interested in developing and offering capstone courses.

“We can provide guidance on building a curriculum that aligns well with the three prerequisite courses,” Peck said. Some faculty already offer entrepreneurship-based courses; those who would like to add their courses to available options for the certificate or build new courses should contact Peck at

Networkshop presentations and the day’s agenda will be posted online for public viewing.

ASU is a participant in the Kauffman Campuses Initiative II and received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City in 2007. Questions about the ASU entrepreneurship initiative should be sent to