If you asked me a couple of months ago what does ‘being an entrepreneuse’ mean, I would have probably gathered that it is the feminine for entrepreneur but I would not have been able to tell you more about it. I did not know what were the characteristics of an entrepreneuse and most certainly I did not know that I might be one.
For the past 18 months, with the help of USE I have attended the International Enterprise Educators Programme (run jointly by NCEE and Enterprise Educators UK), a course catering for Higher Education staff, teaching us what it means to be an enterprising teacher and researcher. Although I was sceptical about the whole experience at the beginning, I ended up being a convinced advocate of enterprise and entrepreneurship in education. I strongly believe that students need hands-on experience of whatever subject they are studying, and they, together with their lecturers, need to understand that learning and research do not happen in a vacuum but are fundamentally connected to the world around us. The University as a public institution needs to ensure a deep and continuous connection with the community around it, based on exchange and collaboration.
Coming from an Arts and Humanities background and being a Lecturer in Theatre did not prompt me to think about enterprise too much in my career. However, after completing the IEEP course I realised that many of the methods and theories I am using in my teaching can be defined as enterprising. Through them, students learn how to be confident, to work in a team, to discover and grasp opportunities, to be aware of the challenges around them and to know how best to tackle them. But it is very difficult to be an enterprising teacher, or, in my case, an entrepreneuse, if there is not a strong institutional policy to support such activities. Through my research for IEEP I realised that the University of Sheffield has in place a policy framework that encourages enterprising individuals, both teachers and students, but we all need to know about it more in order to use it efficiently.
This blog is intended as a reflection of both my musings on Higher Education policy on enterprise and entrepreneurship and of the variety of enterprising teaching activities that happen at our University. Fortnightly I will try to impart with you some of the theoretical bases of enterprise education and the practical ways in which these can be and are used around the University. I hope you enjoy my blog and see you all in two weeks!