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Title: The Future of Entrepreneurship Education: Strengthening the Liberal Arts Institution at Princeton and Beyond
Authors: Dennig, Catherine
Advisors: Lockheed, Marlaine
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: In recent decades and especially years, there has been a massive proliferation of entrepreneurship courses and programs in undergraduate institutions across the United States. Entrepreneurship is cited widely as an important contributor to economic growth and communities’ wellbeing, and high-tech entrepreneurship, which is the focus of this thesis, is disproportionately important for innovation and job creation in the country. Higher education and especially liberal arts institutions are uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurship education to broaden students’ horizons, and to prepare them to found and build companies of meaningful, lasting value to society. What can be said of the effectiveness of current entrepreneurship courses? If entrepreneurship is defined narrowly as founding a company, what might be the influence of an entrepreneurship course on the (entrepreneurial) life choices and success of its graduates? What are the policy implications if entrepreneurship is to be considered more of a liberal arts course rather than an engineering or scientific one? To answer these questions and more, this thesis focuses on Princeton University as a case study, and analyzes a new source of data: a survey of the 1,600 graduates of Princeton’s first entrepreneurship course. The questions asked tested the hypotheses of my research questions—the purpose of which was to understand the effect ELE491 has had on Princeton graduates in their career choices and success. The data mostly confirmed my hypotheses; in fact, the results that the course had such tremendous influence far exceeded my expectations. Though there are validity concerns with my dataset, these findings have important implications for higher education policy. Namely, the most prevalently cited course influence for founders was less about specific content and techniques and much more about inspiration, realizing one’s passions, gaining confidence in one’s abilities, and living life “my way.” In light of Princeton’s investment in entrepreneurship to more effectively fulfill its mission of being in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations, it is suggested to liberal arts institutions that integrating entrepreneurship with existing curriculum can actually be strengthening— and if properly designed and executed, can better the world. University leaders, institutions and foundations interested in the potential for entrepreneurship to enrich the minds of undergraduates and broaden their pathways to serving society will play a large role in the future of these entrepreneurship programs.
Extent: 115 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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