As this issue of eDividend is focusing on entrepreneurship, I am reminded how the career of a Ph.D. student and ultimately, a faculty member, becomes very entrepreneurial in nature. A professor’s opportunities are often only limited by imagination and creativity. We have tremendous flexibility in our courses regarding what we teach, how we present the information, and how we engage and assess students. We typically choose our own research topics, which allows us to explore our passions in great depth. Coinciding with all of this freedom and flexibility is the responsibility to treat our students well, achieve our research goals, and act professionally and ethically. Very much like a successful entrepreneur, the student who decides to pursue a Ph.D. represents a rare breed of individual that has enough self-discipline to work on unstructured projects and achieve goals without being managed.
Entrepreneurship itself is a theoretical subfield within the broader academic discipline of management. Several of our Ph.D. students have either focused on or minored in the entrepreneurship area. We have several faculty who specialize in this area, and several of our students have assisted the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies with the WSU Business Plan Competition and other events. WSU and other quality schools offer entrepreneurship majors at the undergraduate level, and several of our Ph.D. students have pursued faculty positions at those schools.
Finally, I’d like to mention that I had the pleasure of participating in this summer’s WESKA program led by Arvin Sahaym, coordinator for the Ph.D. Program in management. We taught business concepts to graduate students from non-business fields, with the goal of helping them learn how to commercialize their ideas and inventions. This was a wonderful outreach opportunity for the Carson College to work with graduate students from other disciplines. And, who knows?—perhaps some joint research projects will percolate from this effort.