WCC/UM Collaborate On Grant Program For Jordanian College
WCC To Develop Instructional Materials For Entrepreneurial Studies
Entrepreneurs occupy a central position in our economy as key contributors to technological innovation and new job growth. WCC and the University of Michigan William Davidson Institute (WDI) are helping to build entrepreneurial know-how among students at Jordan’s Al-Quds College thanks to a grant from Higher Education Development (HED).
HED works closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development to address global challenges through institution-to-institution partnerships. U-M will monitor and evaluate the grant. It also will facilitate a one-week boot camp for students and faculty who will deliver the boot camp in the future. WCC will provide materials for the classroom and help support entrepreneurial development through a business incubator program.
“The goal is to create an entrepreneurial eco-system,” said Victoria Bennett, who is facilitating WCC’s role in the three-year grant that ends December 2014. “We are especially interested in addressing the business needs of women who do not have a traditional place in the workforce there.”
“The grant also gives faculty in selected occupational areas the opportunity to work together and broaden cultural and global understanding through visits to each other’s colleges and face-to-face conversations via communication technologies. This kind of experience enriches teaching as well as appreciation of diversity in our classes,” said Dean Rosemary Wilson.
“The William Davidson Institute has an extensive international entrepreneurship projects portfolio but this particular grant was of particular interest to us because it involved engagement at the community college level, as opposed to that of a university or a corporate entity,” said Khalid Al-Naif, Director of WDI’s Development Consulting Services. “Our partnership with WCC has been a positive one and we are now actively looking at other global opportunities where our two institutions can collaborate and grow the relationship.”
WCC To Create In-Class Lesson Kits
East Iowa Community College, which has an established educational exchange program with Al-Quds College, is providing the curriculum. WCC is developing toolkits for the classroom.
“The toolkit development to integrate entrepreneurial thinking into technical and occupational courses will be done jointly by teams of faculty at WCC and Al Quds. The goal is to use toolkits in our courses here at WCC to help our students develop an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as students in Jordan,” said Wilson.
“We’re going to focus on the web, information technology, digital video and culinary studies in year one,” said Bennett. “The toolkits are made up of 40 activities, exercises, or lessons that can be integrated within the curricula.”
Faculty have begun working on developing the toolkits and expanding the idea of how to include entrepreneurial thinking into classrooms. “So much of what we do in occupational education is focused on students developing skills that will help them obtain jobs, it is a natural transition to give them skills so they can create jobs”, said Kelley Gottschang, WCC Internet Professional faculty. “A majority of my students already have the aspirations of starting a business; this project is about WCC starting the conversation internally about what we can do in the classroom to help them be successful.”
A Business Incubator Will Be Established
WCC also will mentor AQC on how to build a business incubator with services that include a quick-pitch competition, a business model competition, mentoring, and a speaker success series.
“A business incubator is a physical space that has shared business resources such as desks, computers, and copiers,” said Bennett. “A key component to a successful business incubator is the manager who helps tenants track their milestones to keep them moving forward.”
Bennett met with a small group of female students in March 2012 and asked them if a male or female manager was preferred. “The group was comprised of six or eight students and was evenly split on the answer. Those favoring a man as a manager indicated that women are too emotional, that they won’t be able to make decisions objectively,” said Bennett.
“After more conversation, I asked the students if they were to receive advice on how to start a business from a woman and a man, whose advice would they follow. They all agreed that they would take the advice from the woman. So they decided to hire a female incubator manager. The project also will be designed in a way that will lower the barriers for young women to start businesses,” said Bennett.