Students demand entrepreneurship training

Clyde Briant, professor of engineering and vice president for research, was in Washington, D.C., on July 11 for a media roundtable hosted by The Science Coalition. Innovation and entrepreneurship was a hot topic. Below is an excerpt from Briant’s answer to the question, “Are we as a nation doing enough as a nation to inspire, prepare and develop the next generation of innovators?” An MP3 recording of the session is available online.

At Brown we have the famous open curriculum – it’s still called the new curriculum even though it started in 1969 – where the students have a tremendous amount of freedom in building up what they are going to take. We attract a cohort of entrepreneurial students. We do have an entrepreneurship program. It’s a student-led organization that’s extremely active, and one I’ve worked with in various ways through the years. I’d guess it’s about eight or nine years ago, really out of student demand, [that] we started a new major — a concentration as we call it — called Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship. We don’t have a business school, but we pulled together engineering, sociology, and economics to launch this new undergraduate concentration. It certainly is one of the biggest concentrations now in a very short time because students feel that they do get experiential learning, they do get a chance to prepare themselves for a career in entrepreneurship. It’s been an extremely successful program for us.

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