Leaders in higher education have
been jolted into a new reality of
shrinking resources, heightened
scrutiny, and new demands for
academic and other services.
focus on modeling these entrepreneurial actions, building
effective teams, and shaping
cultures of innovation and
enthusiasm for their divisions
and institutions, and, eventually, for the fields of student
affairs and higher education.
Entrepreneurial leadership is a strong step in the right
direction. Our goal as a profession should be to demonstrate
impactful entrepreneurial leadership in the field of student
affairs and to show institutional and higher education leaders
the validity of this model for the future. SSAOs must initially
Those skeptics who believe that aspiring to lead entrepreneurially as SSAOs is a naïve or overly ambitious dream for
higher education should take pause. In September 2008, we
experienced a financial collapse the likes of which the world
has not seen in 80 years. Organizations of every type, size, and
Entrepreneurship in Action
Connecting Student Housing and the
More than 90 percent of the 30,000 students at the Indiana
University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) live in the
metropolitan community. As student enrollment increased
and became more traditional (single and under 25) and as the
downtown Indianapolis apartment rental market matured, it
became clear that there was a benefit in providing an information clearinghouse for students to locate housing in the
metropolitan area. At the same time, increasing numbers of
apartment community representatives wanted to communicate
their interests in providing housing to students. An entrepreneurial solution to the housing shortage evolved into what is
now called Off-Campus Housing Resources (http://life.iupui.
edu/advocate/ housing.php). This program provides online
resources and referral information to students and offers an
effective way for apartment leasing professionals to communicate with students.
Each spring, apartment representatives come to campus for
several days and meet with interested students at an off-campus housing fair, which is administered by the Office of the
Student Advocate within the Office of the Dean of Students.
Fees are charged to list in the online resources as well as to
participate in the annual fair. Proceeds from this endeavor,
approximately $20,000 in 2010, support student programs
administered through the Office of the Dean of Students.
In addition to providing a service to students, this initiative
benefits the local private sector and creates a funding stream to
enhance student life programs.
Internships, Learning, and Economic
Estrella Mountain Community College students are seeking
to help the economic development of the Phoenix region’s
Southwest Valley through an innovative internship program
and partnership with the cities of Avondale, Goodyear,
Litchfield Park, and Tolleson, and the Southwest Valley
Chamber of Commerce. Through the Business Retention
Internship program, Southwest Valley cities retain current
businesses and students learn valuable business skills.
While many communities are focused on recruiting businesses to their area, this program is designed to help retain
businesses currently located in the area. Students in the program conduct interviews with current business owners to learn
how the college can aid businesses and how well it is serving
business workforce needs.
Students undergo a rigorous interview and application
process. Once selected, they enroll in a three-credit course in
which they work with several economic developers from the
participating cities to write, execute, and analyze a survey on
businesses needs. Eight students are currently involved in the
program, and 50 businesses from each city are set to participate. Results of the survey and this initial program effort will
be shared with local leaders.
Strengthening the Student Safety Net
At Georgetown University, an innovative partnership called
the Engelhard Project is bringing student health professionals
into undergraduate classrooms in ambitious new ways. These