Noted management consultant Peter Drucker used to say that entrepreneurship is the exclusive province of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs see problems others do not and find novel solutions. Someone close to a particular problem is the most apt entrepreneur, and in community college education the two people closest to the challenges that get in the way of success are faculty members and students.
Much of the rhetoric in the AGI and the language and funds in HR 3221 is targeted at the institutional level. This makes fiduciary sense—Congress needs someone to tap on the shoulder to find out where its money is going. But for true entrepreneurship and innovation we need to go one level deeper and create an incentive for faculty-student partnerships that transform community college curricula and programs.
The AGI and final legislation should include a “faculty-student” entrepreneurship prize of $250,000 to the team of faculty and students that actually change curricula and programs in a way that leads to sustainable new course offerings and credentials.
This prize could be based on models such as the NetFlix Innovation prize or the MacArthur Award.
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