[Part of the Learning Series© by Marilynn Force, Regis University affiliate faculty member and Educational Consultant at the John J. Sullivan Chair.]
This month’s Learning Series article will focus on the learning processes of entrepreneurs and how Regis University plans to address these processes.
Within Regis, the John J. Sullivan Chair for Free Enterprise program exists to help students understand the process of how free enterprise can be engaged and generated , with a charge to support all colleges within the university in building knowledge of free enterprise.
Since the establishment of Sullivan Chair, speakers of note have been invited to the University, such as Chris Lowney, author of “Heroic Leadership,” to take classes of students down to rural southeastern Colorado to help assess a community’s strength and weakness, and then help them implement change to reach out beyond their community for economic development purposes.
This past year Regis hired a new Chair for the John J. Sullivan Chair for Free Enterprise, Dr. Karl Dakin J.D., who has over 30 years experience in working with entrepreneurs on all levels; from the formation of an idea, protecting the idea and then taking an idea to market. It should be noted that before opening his practice, Dr. Dakin worked as a consumer protection attorney.
Dr. Dakin’s task is to universally work with Regis University’s faculty and students for all three colleges – Regis College, Regis University College for Professional Studies, and Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions – and additional Subject Matter Experts (SME).
The goal is to help develop programs via faculty participation that will show the students how they can participate in an active immersive learning environment to critically think how the generation of free enterprise (FE) and commerce works, and then build a grounded base of knowledge to become an entrepreneur.
Dr. Dakin has stated that the goal of the Sullivan programs is to create not only a entrepreneurial curriculum that can be used by all three colleges where immersive critical learning processes are the key focus, but to ultimately develop an incubator were students of all school and learning processes can examine the world of being an entrepreneur.
At this point you must be wondering how leaning processes will be implemented into the above mentioned plan.
Well, it is the intention of Dr. Dakin to develop the program where the use of universal instructional designs (UID) are used that will engage all students of all learning types into an understanding of the richness and benefit of the Ignatian Pedagogy that includes “men and women in service to others” and “cura personalis,” which translates to the care of the whole person. In development of entrepreneurship curriculum, attention to the writings of St. Ignatius, where he dictates that “every impediment for learning be removed from the classroom” (Kolvenbach, 2005) will be used by utilizing UID in the development of the classes.
Within UID the Sullivan program will use Cognitive Structural Theory developed by Dr. Jean Higbee and many other contributing theorists from the University of Minnesota PASS IT program (Higbee, 2008). Higbee (2008) states that Cognitive Structural Theories, “focus on the process of reasoning that individuals use and describes changes in this process from simple to complex…the theory provides sets of assumptions people use to adapt to and organize their environment…finally the theory sets forth a successive sequential process of improvement” (pg. 16) for students to gauge their process from.
This new approach to learning environments leads to the establishment and support of critical thinking.
In his 2010 update, “Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts” Facione (2010) states critical thinking promotes “integrative functioning of two mutually supportive systems “intuitive and reflective”’. In that endeavor… is that not what an entrepreneur does every day in their work to support a small business?
It is that key point the Sullivan program is exploring… the aspect that entrepreneurs take a different approach to learning and poses the question …do entrepreneurs learn differently than others?
The Sullivan Chair is preparing to engage in research to explore these areas of inquiry and will be conducting a research study, delving into the learning aspects of entrepreneurs and how critical-thinking decisions are made in challenging environments where priorities are constantly shifting.
A further charge of the Sullivan Chair is to reach out and invite all alumnus of Regis University to take part in the programs and varied learning opportunities being offered to students, alumnus as well as creating strategic alliances with other Universities and the communities the University serves.
Ultimately Dr. Dakin is developing the strategy to develop the ultimate business incubator, RUBRIC which stands for The Regis University Business Research and Incubation Center.
The Sullivan Chairs focus is to be of service in helping to meet the changing needs of students, faculty and alumnus. The Sullivan Chair will also be of service to communities and industry seeking knowledge to support the development, growth and enhancement of their businesses through community outreach programs.
The change of economic indices and educational practices in our culture and the impact of said change drives acknowledgement that change is not only coming but is here. This fact necessitates the understanding and sensitivity to the need of differing student learning processes.
The Sullivan Chair is poised to be of service to help transition our campus with the help of our faculty to meet the needs of a changing economic environment in the generation of jobs and healthy economies by grounding development of our programs solidly in our Ignatian roots and pedagogy established by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Facione, P.A. (2010) Critical Thinking: What it is and why it counts. Retrieved from http://www.insightassessment.com
Higbee, J.L.& Goff,E. (Ed) (2008). Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation: Implementing universal design in higher education. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Printing Services.
Kolvenbach, P.H. (2005). Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy, Jesuit distance education network. Retrieved from http://ajcunet.edu/distanceeducation.aspx?bid
Marilynn Force is an affiliate faculty member who has been teaching for a total of 22 years, 15 of which have been spent at Regis University focusing on finance and accounting within the School of Management. She has also taught for Metro State College and Webster University. Most recently, she has been brought into the Educational Consultant to the John J. Sullivan Chair for Free Enterprise program at Regis University as an Education Consultant. Ms. Force’s career has focused on all aspects of small business development, entrepreneurship, management, communication and the creation of effective learning processes and anxiety cessation within the academic and business environment so critical thinking can occur. She is currently an ABD Doctoral Researcher working on the completion of her PhD in Education.