A Short History of Entrepreneurship Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University has had an entrepreneurship focus in its business school curriculum since the early 1990s. One of the first Universities to create a dedicated center for entrepreneurship outreach and, based upon its requirement to have entrepreneurship as a required class in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, it was a pioneer in its vision to provide business students with an education that responded to the need to provide, in the words of FDU founder, Peter Sammartino, "...an education of and for the world." The need for this type of education has not diminished - rather, the economic crises that we have experienced politically and economically over the last decade, has provided resounding evidence that this is more necessary today than ever before. Entrepreneurship can provide the mechanism through which sound ethical values and business practices can be learned and taught.
Entrepreneurship Education at the Silberman College of Business
Entrepreneurship education has been a distinguishing feature of our curriculum and one of the ways in which the college has provided professional education with grounding in the real world. At the undergraduate level in the Business Planning Forum class (BUSI 3160) students create a full business plan, and at the MBA level students create a feasibility analysis for a business opportunity. The Business Planning Forum class is an integrative class that draws upon knowledge acquired during prior years, including Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Ethics. For those students who choose to proceed to a major in entrepreneurship, this class serves as the introduction to the rest of the curriculum, as does the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTR 6012) class at the graduate level. Our entrepreneurship classes have historically provided the opportunity to obtain enviable rankings in annual Princeton Review surveys.
A major in entrepreneurship at the graduate level in the Silberman College of Business has existed since the late 1990s and continues to strengthen. A required capstone, Business Venture Capstone, for all entrepreneurial studies majors was created in 1992. This class caps entrepreneurial learning that commences in the core Entrepreneurship and Innovation class, followed by electives in entrepreneurship and provides an experiential learning opportunity for students to engage with real companies in developing a business model, and creating either a business plan or a marketing plan over the course of a semester. The faculty mentors are all experienced educators and real-world entrepreneurs who bring to the class many years of global corporate and venture management experience. This class is consistently rated as the best class in our graduate program. The experiential nature of the class offers the opportunity to embed theoretical knowledge gained during the course of the MBA. Significantly, this class also enables the Silberman College of Business to engage with the local business community in New Jersey and New York through the support it offers those ventures in the production of objective and knowledge-intensive business planning services.
Until 2003 the entrepreneurship discipline was housed in the Department of Management, Marketing, Information Systems and Decision Sciences in the Silberman College of Business. A Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship was born in 2003 and the department is now responsible for faculty, curriculum and research in marketing and entrepreneurship. The Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is focused on outreach efforts at the campus and local community levels, in which department faculty participate.
Department faculty similarly collaborate with the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise and in the spring semester each year assists with the activities associated with the annual NCIIA sponsored event organized and hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise.
In 2006 faculty were awarded a grant by the New Jersey Department of Education to help develop a business curriculum for high-achieving students at the Teaneck High School. Collaborating with the Bergen County College faculty from the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship as well as Accounting have assisted in writing and implementing curriculum in three content areas: Marketing, Accounting, and Mathematical Methods. Faculty have presented at national and state conferences on this work.
Students in the entrepreneurship major are eligible for scholarship funding by applying for such funding via the department by completing the application form and submitting to Financial Aid. Selection is made in early fall and awards done soon afterwards. Interested students should contact the department chair for more information.
The Female Entrepreneurs' Alliance (FEA) is organized through the academic department and supported in this outreach activity by staff at the Rothman Institute. Each spring the FEA selects one female entrepreneur in New Jersey to receive the honor of being named the female entrepreneur of the year. In addition the department faculty facilitates the outreach work of the FEA by delivering seminars focused on business development at the Madison campus - this is done in conjunction with the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO).
Faculty are involved at a national level with the premier professional organization for entrepreneurship educators, USASBE. Dr. Swartz serves on the USASBE board.
Please contact the department at either 973 443 8850 (Madison) or 201 692 7214 (Metropolitan) for further information about any of our programs.