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‘Horizon Faculty Fellowship’ at McPherson College Helps Entrepreneurial Professors

There are teachers and professors who look beyond the day-to-day work, who dream farther, and who help their students develop an innovative mindset. These professors see clearly what lies on the horizon, so this year McPherson College introduced the “Horizon Faculty Fellowship” program to support and reward MC faculty who want to incorporate the ideals of entrepreneurship into their courses.

Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship initiative at McPherson College, said that interested MC faculty had to apply to become fellows and that six were chosen from among the applicants. Archer-Rierson said this first group of faculty fellows represent the broad variety of disciplines taught at McPherson College – business, art, automotive restoration, and chemistry.

“At McPherson College, we believe that everyone can benefit from being more creative, more innovative, and by pursuing their passions – in short, by being more entrepreneurial,” Archer-Rierson said. “These Horizon Faculty Fellows are fantastic examples of how entrepreneurship can change students’ educational experience.”

The fellowship program gives a grant to the faculty fellows to create a new course or modify an existing course to incorporate entrepreneurship concepts. In addition, they will be taking workshop sessions throughout the year to develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement their ideas. These sessions will include a variety of assigned readings on entrepreneurship, followed by group discussion. The fellows will also serve as mentors to the next group of Horizon Faculty fellows.

Here’s a look at the ideas the first fellows will be developing:

Dr. Manjula Koralegedara

Dr. Manjula Koralegedara

Dr. Manjula Koralegedara, assistant professor of chemistry

When Dr. Koralegedara first came to the United States, she passed on an opportunity to start a company importing spices from Sri Lanka. She declined because she saw it as too risky and didn’t fully realize what it meant to be an entrepreneur. Now, she regrets that she didn’t take the opportunity.

Through this story, Dr. Koalegedara said she learned how entrepreneurial education is valuable to students across all majors. For her fellowship grant, Dr. Koralegedara is working to incorporate the entrepreneurial concepts of critical thinking and sustainability into a general education chemistry course that emphasizes “Green” chemistry. The class will also develop an entrepreneurial mindset by creating a class project incorporating these concepts.

Ann Zerger

Ann Zerger

Ann Zerger, associate professor of art, and Garrick Green, associate professor of technology

For those outside of McPherson College, a partnership between an automotive restoration professor and an art professor may seem an unlikely collaboration. But for those who know how entrepreneurship takes shape at MC, it should come as no surprise that professors are working across traditional “silos.”

Zerger and Green have proposed a joint project centered on the two 3-D printers that are located in Templeton and Hess. They propose making more use of the printers by incorporating them into existing classes or a new class. In particular, they want to explore how to use the printers as the first step in creating metal castings of obsolete car parts or artistic works.

Dr. Allan van Asselt

Dr. Allan van Asselt

Dr. Allan van Asselt, professor of chemistry

Science isn’t the area of study immediately conjured up by the word “entrepreneurship,” but principles for good scientists and entrepreneurs share much in common – including problem-solving, creativity, curiosity and passion.

Allan van Asselt is receiving a Horizon Faculty Fellowship to develop the concepts of entrepreneurship in both introductory chemistry courses as well as more advanced research courses (Research Methods, Junior Seminar and Senior Research).

His work will involve both re-framing existing elements of these courses in the context of entrepreneurship and adding new lessons that will focus on entrepreneurial concepts important to scientists.

Dr. Dale Hartley

Dr. Dale Hartley

Dr. Dale Hartley, assistant professor of business

Students may be good at arguing, some might say, but what about negotiation?

Dale Hartley’s proposed course is “The Art and Practice of Negotiation.” Not only is negotiation an essential (but rarely taught) skill for business professionals, it also applies across a variety of careers and avocations.

Hartley said that the course could benefit students at MC in all majors, as well as benefit the local business and professional community to learn this important art.

Michaela Groeblacher

Michaela Groeblacher

Michaela Groeblacher, assistant professor of art

Groeblacher is receiving a Horizon Faculty Fellowship for her class concept – “Art and Entrepreneurship” (or “Professional Practices for Artists”)

The class concept is working to combat the stereotype of the “starving artist” and dispel the notion that there’s not a way to make a living as an artist. The class will teach artists the principles of good business and self-promotion to achieve success in an artistic career.