How many courses provide students with an opportunity to work together to write a book? Or start an organization? Students who enroll in LA 202: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts will get the opportunity to do both.
Students enrolled in this new course will serve as collaborators on a book project about innovative and entrepreneurial careers for liberal arts graduates and the most promising areas for future entrepreneurial growth. Students will be responsible for setting up the business model to support the production, marketing, and sales of the book, and for deciding how revenue will be allocated as a nonprofit entity. This innovative course project will function as the primary case study to ground discussion of the entrepreneurial process and will also be used to introduce students to urgent social, economic, and political problems and opportunities of interest in the liberal arts.
Students will be expected to conduct rigorous research and to think critically and argue effectively about the limits and possibilities of innovation and entrepreneurship for promoting, for example, economic and racial justice, physical and mental health and well-being, racial and gender equality, and civic engagement. At its core, this course will help students cultivate and apply broad yet rigorous intellectual capacities such as critical problem solving, risk-taking, and ethical awareness to understand how meaningful startups can be a positive force for change in society.
The book project will focus on different problems, challenges, and opportunities that scholars and organizations are addressing (or could and should be addressing) through innovative ideas and ventures. For example, a section in a chapter on public history could focus on technological solutions for commemorating the contributions of marginalized individuals and groups; a chapter on psychology could have a section devoted to how nonprofit organizations have responded to cultural changes in how adults with autism are perceived by society; or a chapter on rhetoric and communication could include a section on the persuasive messaging campaigns nonprofits have initiated around the challenge of disseminating a sustainability worldview.
Local experts on topics including innovation, product differentiation, branding, business structures, marketing, and small business accounting will provide students with vital information to help make key early decisions about their self-publishing startup, while faculty from various liberal arts disciplines will share their research with students about urgent problems that are impacting our world. The Fall 2017 semester represents the kickoff to this multi-year project for L A 202.