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Survey: ASU community values entrepreneurship

October 18, 2007

The majority of ASU faculty members and students have a positive view of entrepreneurship and feel that learning about it is beneficial. They also want to learn more about the university’s entrepreneurship initiative and how they can apply entrepreneurial principles to their discipline.

These are the key findings of a survey recently conducted by ASU’s Institute for Social Science Research on behalf of the Entrepreneurship at ASU initiative. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation named ASU a leading entrepreneurial university last year and awarded a $5 million grant to extend access to entrepreneurship education across the entire university.

“For ASU to transform the university into one that is entrepreneurial at its very core and in every aspect of its research, teaching and engagement with the community, we need to find out what people think about entrepreneurship and what their interests are,” says Kimberly Loui, assistant vice president and executive director of ASU’s Office of University Initiatives. “The faculty and staff who responded to our survey have helped us set a baseline from which to move the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurial principles and skills forward.”

Entrepreneurship is spreading across college campuses nationwide. Of the two- and four-year accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States, more than 80 percent teach entrepreneurship.

According to Carl Schramm, president and chief executive officer of the Kauffman Foundation, it is estimated that 70 percent of current college students will start a company in their lifetime.

Traditionally, entrepreneurial education has taken place in business schools. It is unlikely that all the students Schramm refers to will be business students, and that is why ASU is taking the approach that entrepreneurship education should focus on a wide range of students across a variety of academic disciplines.

ASU defines entrepreneurship as the spirit and process of creative risk-taking and innovation that leverages university knowledge to spur development and economic competitiveness. Faculty and staff appear to embrace this definition, identifying the term entrepreneur with “risk-taker,” “creative thinker” and “innovator.”

Other key findings of the survey reveal this about the ASU community and its views toward entrepreneurship:

• Forty-one percent of faculty members have experience as a business entrepreneur outside academia.

• Faculty members favor the idea that students should be exposed to entrepreneurship and neutral as to priority for entrepreneurship


• Faculty members generally are favorable to the idea that entrepreneurship can be taught, while students are more skeptical.

• Students from 58 academic disciplines enroll in entrepreneurship courses.

• Forty-one percent of faculty members include curricula on entrepreneurship in their courses. The reasons they do not include it is that it is not relevant to the course, they are not sure how to incorporate and they cannot see the relevance in their discipline.

• Faculty members identified the following five factors as useful for incorporating entrepreneurship into their teaching: examples of successful entrepreneurs in their discipline; examples of mistakes in their discipline; suggestions on how to incorporate entrepreneurship into the curriculum; information on how other universities are approaching entrepreneurship; and a better understanding of what entrepreneurship is.