More stories of in-the-trenches achievement from this year's Global Readers' Challenge. Introducing this year's Fast 50 Honorable Mentions.
The Fast 50 is about powerful ideas and personal commitment. It's about being a champion of innovation. And while it's about being Fast, it's not limited to 50. Fast Company, and the magazine readers' network - the Company of Friends -- are proud to present this year's honorable mentions.
Members of the Company of Friends reviewed entries in their respective communities, and found their favorites. These entries are marked by this special icon:
Be an intellectual entrepreneur; leverage knowledge for change
Associate Dean, University of Texas at Austin
Austin - TX US
Tell us what you do and the specific challenge you faced
I am an associate dean of graduate studies at one the nation's largest academic institutions. The challenge/problem: (1) The way research universities think about graduate students and deliver doctoral education; there exists a need to empower (not "help') students discover their enormous value, encouraging them to think broadly and boldly about how their expertise might be leveraged to produce meaningful differences within disciplines and in the community. The challenge is nothing short of changing the metaphor and model of education from "apprenticeship-certification-entitlement" to one of "discovery-ownership-accountability." (2) The way universities relate to communities: there exists a need to develop innovative, collaborative and sustainable ways for universities to partner with those in the public and private sectors to jointly own issues, solve complex problems for which no one academic discipline or sector of society has the answer, and to promote economic, social, political, and cultural change.
What was your moment of truth?
The moment of truth was realizing, after 20 years, that academic institutions are resistant to change--that the only way to create change is to be relentless and unafraid to act. I confronted the traditional university system with its suffocating and rigidly imposed categories and ways of thinking: (1) the lack of nimble administrative structures and administrators willing to be academic entrepreneurs--people who seize opportunities, take risks, don't over-analyze problems, and make bold and decisive changes; (2) insularity and narrowness of academic disciplines, accompanied by provincialism and turf-fighting; (3) a reticence to close the gap between discovery (knowledge) and action; and (4) the tendency of faculty to clone doctoral students and perpetuate a 19th century model of learning. Trusting my instincts and what students told me, I created the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program (IE) at the University of Texas--the goal of which is to produce "citizen-scholars".
What were the results?
Results are dramatic, defying those who predicted failure. Over 3000 graduate students have enrolled in IE initiatives. Most, for the first time, are discovering the enormous value of their intellectual assets, are exploring a wide range of careers inside and outside of academe; these students now own and are accountable for their education, thinking about what's possible rather than that to which they are entitled. IE students are developing visions and entrepreneurial plans for bringing their visions to fruition. Spotlighted by media and administrative organizations, IE prompted other universities to act. We are changing the academic culture.
What's your parting tip?
Take risks and have the ethos to stand behind your convictions. Seize whatever opportunities are available to affect change.
Comments readers have made about this submission
This IE work is providing a model to marshal the enormous resources of graduate education in this country to address business and social needs. It also is training a new generation of intellectuals prepared to lead in an engaged, entrepreneurial 21st century world.
James L. Applegate - Professor (University of Kentucky) Lexington, KY, USA
The paradigm shift is the way it needs to be . . .
Rick Nauert - Doctoral Student (Information Science) Austin Texas US
Dean Cherwitz's comments on the need to transform graduate education from an "apprenticeship-certification-entitlement" model to a "discovery-ownership-accountability" model are both enlightening and encouraging. The change he is describing would certainly benefit current graduate students, but by the kind of faculty values his approach would produce by creating a new and different generation of professors, this approach would have a positive and self-perpetuating impact on generations of graduate students to come.
Margaret King - Professor and Dean (North Carolina State) Raleigh, NC USA
Dean Cherwitz is a recognized national leader in graduate education. His model for intellectual entrepreneurs provides opportunities for academics to make significant contributions to organizations of all types. He is working to develop an educational model that allows scholars to engage important economic, technological, and social challenges.
James Gaudino - Executive Director (National Communication Association) Washington, DC
I personally credit my professional success to the innovative initiatives spearheaded by Dean Cherwitz and the IE program at UT. As a recent participant and graduate, I am now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. And I have started my own consulting firm in which I am now actively involved in working with national and state entities on issues such as urban entrepreneurship, the war on terror, and related policy issues. The support I received the Dr. Cherwitz through my graduate career gave me the courage to think outside of the box and I am extremely grateful.
Sean Wheeler - Professor & Consultant (John Jay College) New York, NY
Dean Cherwitz has done far more than simply articulate the real need for change in the structure of graduate education; he has taken innovative and effective steps to stimulate this much-needed paradigm shift. Graduate students emerging from his programs will be more than individuals empowered to claim ownership of their educational process. They will become faculty who embody intellectual entrepreneurship and will encourage future students to do the same.
Carolyn D. Roark - Professor (Oklahoma State) Stillwater, OK USA
Rick's passion for this mission is unwavering, unsettled, and unsatisfied. He knows how large is the challenge to change the Big State U machine and he doesn't care because he is in pursuit of a worthy goal. I applaud him and remain in his corner.
Christopher Avery - Consultant, Comfort, TX USA
Dean Cherwitz's "citizen scholars" vision should be embraced not only by his graduate school administration cohorts, but also graduate students themselves. The IE program at UT represents a paradigm shift that should not be ignored and may soon become a wave across the academic spectrum.
Alice Chu - Anthropology Doctoral Student. Austin, TX
This is an innovative and much needed program to bring the talents of university graduate students to address community issues. Bravo to Cherwitz for having the courage to move this initiative forward.
Martha Norkunas - Director (Texas Folklore Resources) Austin, Texas
I applaud Dean Cherwitz's visionary drive as he sets the stage for academic change. The most compelling concept brought forth is the idea of "ownership" and "accountability" of all graduate level entrepreneurs in today's changing and challenged society. My hope is that Cherwitz's academic model expands into all levels of "professional" education.
Denise Gobert - Professor, Kansas City, KS
Dean Cherwitz has developed an important initiative to follow up on the concerns he has developed after years of observing the weaknesses of the academic system. He has always been an agent of change--something we need more of in academia.
Ellis Rubinstein - Editorial Director (Science's NEXT WAVE) Washington, DC
A valuable new model for graduate education delivered by thoughtful, caring and insightful entrepreneurial educators. It has important implications for undergraduate education as well.
Christopher Pratt - Dean of Career Education (Columbia University) NYC, USA
Dean Cherwitz has accepted a Herculean challenge with our most beloved public institution -- he's attempting to change the culture of the university. He has developed a new vision of the graduate experience, he has pushed the boundaries of graduate curriculum, and he has turned mere graduate students into tomorrow's leaders. These efforts at organizational change fly in the face of Weber's notion of bureaucracy; he has proven that universities can and should be entrepreneurial, agile, and responsive to public needs. Cherwitz's work suggests that we would all do well to tap into the passion, knowledge, and creativity that reside within this community.
Vidula Bal - Doctoral Student San Diego, CA
Talk about HARD! What separates Dean Cherwitz from so many of the other nominees is the environment in which he's working: academia. You have no idea how intellectually conservative academia is in the United States (and the critical need for fresh thinking like Cherwitz's program). Consider this: in academia - convocations and graduations are still conducted partly in LATIN. The Catholic Church gave that up in the 1920's! Dean Cherwitz deserves enormous credit AND recognition for being a fast-moving entrepreneur in one of the slowest-moving environments out there. Hats off to you, Rick!
Peter S. Fiske - Livermore, California
Linking graduate reflection and study to community brings a new life to graduate schools for both students and faculty---my organization has benefited directly from this infusion of talent and good thinking.
Pat Hayes - President and CEO (Seton Healthcare Network) Austin, TX
This is an innovative program, thoughtfully pursued by someone who has thought hard about how to make change in a system that all too often resists it. Dean Cherwitz's initiative deserves the sincerest form of academic flattery: imitation.
Donald Kennedy - (Editor of Science and former Stanford University President) Stanford CA USA
This is a very important effort to help students get the very most out of their educational experience, and to help the public get more out of their public universities. Congratulations to Dean Cherwitz. I wish there were many more like you doing this in every university in the country.
Wolfgang Opitz, Ph.D. - Olympia, Washington
I congratulate Dean Cherwitz for his courage and ability to profoundly change educational system from which our nation's future leaders are born.
Jane Ray, J.D. - Houston, Texas
Having been in higher education administration for 26 years, I can attest that to the fact that this approach not only is innovative, but it also is revolutionary. It demonstrates that these big battleships -- America's large research universities -- can indeed be turned in new strategic directions. More important, it is a vehicle for concentrating the enormous collective brainpower of graduate students on matters of clear societal concern. This is a serious breakthrough.
Johnnie D. Ray - Vice President for Resource Development Austin, Texas, USA
Academia is a lumbering beast that has failed to keep pace with the rest of public life. Our national conversations desperately need the critical thinking skills of public intellectuals, and Rick and his IE program is on the track to reviving the public intellectual in American life. Fast life needs fast minds, and if Rick has his way, academia will become a player again.
Ann Daly - Theatre Professor Austin, TX
Rick is on the cutting edge of connecting the ivory tower of academia with the real world challenges facing employers, non-profits and local communities.
John Fitzpatrick - Director (Capitol Area Training Foundation) Austin, Texas
There has always existed a strict line between academia and the public sector that is rarely crossed. Dean Cherwitz not only crossed the line but also erased it. The IE program allows some of the brightest minds in academia to collectively enhance and improve the public sector while in the process obtain an entrepreneurial education. Dean Cherwitz should be congratulated and awarded for his visionary approach to an age-old problem.
Scott Grimes - Evanston, IL
The figure of 3,000 students enrolled is not only "dramatic," as Cherwitz says, but it is surely a significant testament to the importance of the program he created. In my PhD studies, I found there were so many more intriguing courses than I could fit into my program of coursework. The concept of graduate "coursework" in fact is part of the rigid system he describes as part of his challenge.
Sharan L. Daniel - Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Rick Cherwitz has, in my opinion, introduced some of the most innovative programs in the area of graduate education. I hope my University will see fit to adopt one or more of them.
John A. Courtright - Professor Newark, DE, USA
Cherwitz is absolutely right about the inherent conservatism of graduate training. His program offers graduate students an alternative vision of the "higher learning" as a preparation for many occupations, not just for work in the academy. At the same time, he offers a salutary challenge to departments and university administrators, who need to think hard about the aims (and means) of graduate education. The benefits to scholarship AND society cannot be calculated in advance, but they will be substantial if more people pay attention to Cherwitz's work.
Philip M. Katz - Research Director (American Historical Association) - Washington, DC
As a graduate psychology student and student in the IE program at UT, I can attest to the creative energy generated by Dean Cherwitz and his staff. I was excited to find out about his program and felt it provided the ideals and structure I needed to step out of the usual job track for graduates. As I pursue my research on artistic voice, I've begun to develop career options I couldn't imagine were possible before.
Dayna Burnett - Doctoral Student Austin, Texas
Rick Cherwitz is a person of enormous vision and energy, and with the willpower and determination to see his many highly impressive ideas through to very successful fruition. The IE program is only "one" of his many important ideas and accomplishments: what all his projects have in common is originality, impact, and far-sightedness. Many people these days claim to think "outside the box." Rick "lives" outside the box. So do his ideas and projects. You're going to be reading about him for years to come.
Geraldine Heng - Professor and Director of Medieval Studies Austin.
Rick Cherwitz has introduced a much-needed innovation that not only shifts how to view, value and practice of "theoretical" and "applied" research and learning at the graduate level. He has done it in part by adopting the commonly used business term--"entrepreneurship"-- and applying more broadly as a metaphor as risk/discovery-ownership-accountability, and this has broad implications for education in general.
Gloria Lee - Professor Austin, TX
What a fantastic saying: "have the ethos to stand behind your convictions!" Few academic programs encourage graduate students to call it as they see it. Rick's did.
Katherine Socha - Professor (Michigan State) Lansing, MI, USA
His work has been extraordinary. His vision is refreshing and has opened doors at the University, not only for his work, but for the creative thinking of others. Truly exceptional!
Sarah Jane Bonessi - Briarcliff, Texas
This makes you want to know more about exactly what Rick is doing at UT. I wish this kind of innovation had been around when I was in graduate school. I'm very impressed!
Rob L. Wiley - Attorney, Houston, TX USA
A creative idea that is innovative, futuristic, and pragmatic within a holistic construct is the GREAT strength of Dean Cherwitz's work.
Irene Owens - Professor Austin, Texas, USA
Rick is doing great work at the University of Texas. His commitment to bridging the gap between social service and academia is noteworthy and important!
Anne Glickman - Doctoral Student Austin, TX USA
Remarkably, less than 100 years ago, granting the MD degree was haphazard, unstructured, and unexamined. All of the leading indicators, of which this IE program is a high water mark, signal that the revolution in the PhD is underway.
Brian Coppola - Chemistry Professor (Michigan) Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Rick Cherwitz's program has torn down the iron curtain between learning and living, between the campus and the community. He recognizes that their is not a single real problem that a single discipline could claim to study, much less solve. The real problems of community, society, and the world lie between and among the disciplines. He works to educated graduates for the world not academe.
Joseph C. Burke - Professor (SUNY) Albany, NY, USA
Rick Cherwitz's approach to graduate education is refreshing, innovative, and practical. It will be a model for other graduate programs across the nation who are seeking to educate and inspire doctoral students to face the complex challenges in the 21st Century.
Jacqueline Angel - Professor Austin, TX USA
Rick's infectious support of the integrated lives of citizen-scholars has allowed me to continue a life-long involvement in my community as I scramble along the long path toward a PhD at the University of Texas.
Maria E. Gonzalez - Doctoral Student Austin, TX
What Dean Cherwitz has accomplished at UT should be an inspiration to all of us involved in graduate education. The bold ideas put into practice in Austin are visible nationally and show how difficult challenges in complex organizations can be met.
Edie Goldenberg - Professor and former Dean of Arts and Sciences (Michigan) Ann Arbor, Michigan
Graduate education in America is a large and conservative enterprise that is difficult to change. Mr. Cherwitz's imaginative plan, that he is currently implementing at the University of Texas, despite the difficulty, promises to bring about much needed change. The society, graduate schools, and especially graduate students should benefit from this work.
Samuel L. Becker - Professor Iowa City, IA
Participation in UT's intellectual entrepreneurship program has transformed the way I look at my graduate education and future career opportunities. Dean Cherwitz's initiative has helped me look beyond my discipline and the university. The sky's the limit for this exciting program!
Stefanie Ellis Wichhart - History Doctoral Student Austin, Texas USA
Rick has articulated here a vision not only for graduate education but also for university administration. Can academic leaders move beyond "budget management" and "paper trail" and become entrepreneurs willing to take risks in innovative programs.
Patrick Olivelle - Professor Austin, Texas, USA
Everybody agrees that graduate and postgraduate students must be provided with the much needed transferable skills. But very few people in the academic sphere are really committed to actually doing it. I work in a big research institution in Paris and I have been trying to motivate my academic partners into building first a national then a European network to tackle those issues: Dr Cherwitz's programme has inspired me and given me the strength to pursue my objective. Indeed you've got to have passion, will power and tremendous determination to overcome the rigidities of the system and go beyond personal competition and petty strife. Dr Cherwitz has demonstrated he possesses all these qualities; he is really working for the future generation of researchers and entrepreneurs , I hope more and more colleagues will follow his lead.
Marie-Clude ROLAND, Young Researchers' Training Programme, INRA National Institute for National Res - PARIS, France
Rick has vision, courage, and integrity to carry out this great program. As a professional colleague in one of the professional schools at UT Austin, I agree with his premises and have seen the fruits of his labors. Well-done!
Lynn Rew - Professor Austin, TX USA
Dean Cherwitz's work is cutting edge, and badly needed. Most students I've talked to about his program rate it very highly. Unfortunately, most faculty are caught up in the "that's not what I had to do, so my students don't need it" mode. I applaud visionaries like Dean Cherwitz.
Carlton Erickson - Professor Austin, Texas, USA
Dr. Cherwitz's work has made an effective change to the status quo of graduate education taking it to new levels. His work has made a difference and is transforming the lives of our next citizen scholars. His work is creative, innovative and makes great sense. Intellectual entrepreneurship stands as a model and is the benchmark for us to use in graduate education.
Maureen Grasso - Graduate School Dean (Georgia) Athens, Georgia
I've watched this innovative program with interest and hope we might bring something comparable to our university some day.
John Lyne - Professor (Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh, PA
Andrew Abbott, in his book Academic Chaos, discusses how disciplines become "union shops" and guard their boundaries against interdisciplinary intrusions. In the short time that Rick Cherwitz's initiatives have been in effect, they have helped to break down the disciplinary union shop boundaries that exist at this and other universities. His initiatives have inspired doctoral students at The University of Texas at Austin to great heights, as demonstrated by one graduate becoming head of public health informatics and training at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another student has just completed research that led to a successful public health diabetes intervention program. And another doctoral graduate edits an engineering journal and has helped lead the knowledge and data mining movement. These and many other examples of bold student initiative offer solid evidence of Rick's effectiveness and his inspiring academic leadership.
Glynn Harmon - Professor Austin, Texas USA
Dean Cherwitz has developed a highly innovative program that is educating students to "think outside the box". This program is providing graduate students with tools beyond just the traditional technical skills, that will be exceptionally useful in their future interdisciplinary work environments. Students trained in this fashion will have the ability to see beyond the standard boundaries and think in new, creative ways that will allow them to be even more successful. This innovative program has been developed within an academic environment, which is generally very conservative and resistant to change. Congratulations to Dean Cherwitz on such an innovative and much needed program!
Christine Schmidt - Professor Austin, TX
The IE program is a place for students to create and nurture ideas in an intellectual environment that is supportive and flexible. It is a place to draw strength from multiple disciplines and conference with others; then build ideas that matter. The phrase "Well, it's just not done that way," is non-existent; leaving the student to find their ideas coming to fruition right before their eyes. It's empowering and exciting to be a part of that.
Caroline C. Sullivan - Doctoral Student Austin, Texas, USA
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching stresses that holders of a doctoral degree should be "stewards of the discipline." Thus, it is incumbent upon PhD's to care for the continuing health of their discipline and train new generations of stewards. The IE program complements the Carnegie definition of the doctorate by providing participants the opportunity to expand their horizons beyond the academy into the myriad other opportunities available to the PhD holder. For this I applaud Dean Cherwitz!
Joel Shulman - Professor Cincinnati, OH, USA
This is an idea worth sharing! Making substantive and significant inroads in the way higher education perceives its mission to the sponsoring society will require major changes in the reward system for faculty, and that will require strong - and entrepreneurial! - executive leadership.
Mel Hill, Editor, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement - Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
What Dean Cherwitz is talking about is the university model for the 21st Century. If the academe, business, government, and all sectors of society do not join hands (and minds) to solve our problems, then we lessen our chances for positive innovation. If we really live in the Knowledge Age, then it is incumbent upon the university to undertake a personality change and live in the future--not the present and certainly not the past. Dean Cherwitz is an Intellectual Futurist!
Roberta I. Shaffer - Professor and former Information Science Dean, Chevy Chase Maryland USA
The Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program amends the typical graduate study grind of "read, write, talk" by adding in the call to "ACT!" Equipping students to flourish outside of the typical publish/teach arenas of higher education is essential to their success. IE calls together all disciplines within the university to learn from one another: sociologists from finance students, engineers from artists, communication students from biologists. It is truly an innovative, empowering, experiential program!
Cynthia Oelkers - Graduate Student Austin, Texas
The IE program is exceptionally worthy on every dimension, and is due almost entirely to Rick's vision and dedication. He made things happen in a way I would not have believed possible. A truly impressive accomplishment, one which combines practicality with intellectual depth. Universities are legendary for their inertia and resistance to change; they typically change in generations, not years. Yet, in a very short time, Rick has begun to transform the model by which PhDs see their professional and civic roles, a model which has been in place for about 100 years. More impressive still is the ripple effect: universities all over the country are adopting and expanding versions of the IE program; his innovation is getting re-innovated. When historians look back at the major changes in graduate education at the turn of the 21st century, they will have to deal with the changes begun by Rick Cherwitz at the University of Texas.
William Keith - Professor (Wisconsin) Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The notion of challenging students to apply their talents to the "real world" is innovative yet simple enough to have impact. I think this is one of the reasons there are 3,000 students that have enrolled in Dr. Cherwitz program. All educators should challenge their students to explore the application of their discipline to society. That is the very essence of education.
Jonathan Dison - KPMG Houston, Texas, USA
Rick Cherwitz has created a visionary and cutting edge Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program that is a model for how research universities should consider the future of graduate education.
Steven W. Leslie - Pharmacy Dean Austin, Texas
UT-Austin's IE program is the gold standard for graduate education. Rick and his colleagues have set the bar high for those interested in developing effective and innovative graduate student preparation programs.
James Groccia - Professor and Dean (Missouri) Columbia, Missouri, USA
The IE program at the University of Texas demonstrates, on a grand scale, some of the most innovative thinking taking place in U.S. graduate education. Cherwitz and his colleagues, as well as those at dozens of other universities, are enhancing the education of the next generation of intellectually engaged citizens. They are to be congratulated.
Richard A. Weibl - Editor (Science's NEXT WAVE) Washington, DC
The intellectual entrepreneurship program focuses energy and creativity on breaking down the walls between the university and the community. As far as I am concerned, there is no more worthwhile project for contemporary academics than this one.
Richard Holtzman - Doctoral Candidate Austin, Texas
Smart, insightful stuff -- the sort of multi-disciplinary argument (and action) demanded by our complicated times.
Stefanie Sanford - Gates Foundation Washington, DC, USA
Dean Cherwitz has created a program that is far reaching and far sighted. This concept has the potential to be integrated into all levels of education. The students with whom I work have underscored how the IE program has open career ideas and doors much more than the traditional academic structure. Thanks, Rick!
Lynne Milburn - Director of Career Services Austin, TX USA
The program Rick Cherwitz created enables graduate students to envision their value in venues other than the university. As a former student in the IE program, I found that this not only opened me up to options outside the university, but showed me how to use what I know -- and what I love -- to impact the community in which I live. The IE program is breaking down barriers between the two.
Vive Griffith - Writer Austin, TX, USA
The IE Program at UT is one of the most innovative initiatives in graduate education. In the Department of Theatre and Dance at UT, we've adapted this model for use in our Performance as Public Practice graduate emphasis, in which we train "citizen-scholar-artists." Dean Cherwitz's visionary thinking has a profound, motivating affect on the students and professors with whom he works. The IE Program takes seriously the responsibility for institutions of higher learning to prepare students to work actively and ethically in the public, as well as the academic, sphere.
Jill Dolan - Professor Austin, Texas
Rick Cherwitz is an innovator of the first sort--sometimes a rarity in Research I institutions. His work has transformed graduate education. He also retains a leadership role in the communication discipline.
Judy C. Pearson, 1st VP, NCA and Professor - Fargo, ND, USA
Dean Cherwitz continues to create and build a remarkable educational paradigm that couples the highest vision of social responsibility and change with an educational experience that is vibrant, challenging and intellectually stimulating. This dynamic interdisciplinary approach to learning and real life/time problem-solving is an exemplary 21st century model for students, institutions, communities, businesses and government to directly, positively and collectively impact the multi-faceted challenges now facing our planet. Dean Cherwitz's vision and perseverance is commendable!
B. Zuckerman - Virginia
This looks terrific. Academic institutions could be such assets to the human community, yet most merely replicate the failed political and administrative structures from the past. This program really could change that!
Joni L. Jones - Professor Austin, Texas USA
PhD 2.0! Rick Cherwitz is delivering a much-needed upgrade to the operating system that runs inside the heads of high-tech's entrepreneurs.
Geoff Davis - Raleigh, NC
In a world mired in posturing to reinforce the thick walls of disciplinary silos, I.E. is rapidly destabilizing the existing structures. I.E. successfully penetrates the walls of every discipline to unlock and unite repressed student energy in unique and enlightening ways. Having been exposed twice to the I.E. "religion" as a graduate student, I have become an evangelist for the program, especially targeting incoming grads. The best gift you can give yourself is any I.E. course. Thank you Rick and Staff
Bryan Howell - Graduate Student Austin Texas
In a specialized world that begs for cross-disciplinary conversations, the I.E. program answers the call remarkably. This program interrupts the path to completion of a PhD with the message: "You have agency outside of department walls!"
Tim Steffensmeier - Doctoral Student Austin, TX
Dean Cherwitz's work with the I.E. program at UT has invigorated graduate students, and their faculty, to think beyond the sphere of the classroom, encouraging the application of complex skills and knowledge to the highly charged realms of social responsibility and community involvement.
Jessica Hester - Doctoral Student Austin, Texas
Students in the IE program at UT Austin have a tremendous opportunity. They should take every advantage to grow and challenge existing educational policies. I am sure IE graduates will become the leaders of tomorrow - in academia and beyond.
Sharon Milgram - Professor (UNC) Chapel Hill, NC
Rick Cherwitz' ability to think outside of the Ivory Tower and the resulting I.E. program are outstanding examples to graduate and professional students and their teachers. It is truly refreshing to see a university administrator and his successful program break out of the 19th century academic model without simply resorting to the often equally confining corporate model. Three cheers!
Luke Keller - (Cornell University) Ithaca, NY, USA
To add my voice to the resoundingly supportive comments already entered, UT's IE program is indeed exceptional in its breadth and creativity in finding ways to bridge the traditional boundaries often found between community, business and higher education (this breadth and creativity is witnessed by the broad range of programs participating in the IE project--including internships, the Preparing Future Faculty program, workshops, Portfolio programs, synergy groups, GRS courses and the Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Program). In all of these programs, "the IE approach" is to be congratulated for its open support and nurturing of graduate students to explore ways to creatively enhance their academic training and to then apply that training to a broad range of employment options. In addition to reaching beyond the constraints of traditional academic boundaries, it is also important to note that the IE program reaches beyond cultural boundaries, both at home and abroad (as evidenced by programs such as the GRS courses that enhance international students' cultural understanding of US academic communication processes, and by the outstanding ITA training program). Hats off to Dean Rick Cherwitz and the professional team members who are working to meet the realistic needs of community, business and education, in a broad range of contexts ranging from the local to the global.
Melissa Curtin - Madison, WI (USA)
It seems to me that a truly groundbreaking thing about Dean Cherwitz's entry is the idea of educating intellectuals to operate in entrepreneurial mode ("intellectual entrepreneurship") by employing innovative, collaborative and sustainable ways of promoting change in society ("citizen-scholar"). What a wonderfully witty and efficient way of connecting academia with society, not by establishing a new ensemble of normative procedures (called "projects") that would once again force the students to develop antagonistic relationship towards that abstract entity called "society," but by producing "citizen-scholars" whose mind-sets are made responsive to public needs in ways in which an individual's entrepreneurial goal and public interest are made into truly complementary trajectories. This entry has the capacity to bring the essence back into the increasingly emptied terms: "citizen," "society," "academia," "education," and after all "democracy" itself. This is a real breakthrough. For this I applaud Dean Cherwitz, Dr. Darwin, and the entire team.
Miodrag Mitrasinovic - Professor (UT) Austin, TX
Knowing oh-so-well how resistant academe is to change, I've watched Rick Cherwitz change people and programs with the simple proposition that strong intellect should make profound contribution to society. The Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program here makes PhD brains into change agents, building conceptual bridges to real issues and real solutions. What a brave idea. Bottom line: To be fast at the university level is to make revolutionary change.
Deborah Morrison - Professor (UT) Austin, Texas USA
The IE program has in a short time got people all over this city--students, faculty, and community members--thinking in radical and innovative ways about what they can accomplish in the world. In small but growing pockets all over this university, there's a new kind of energy and excitement that I've never before seen in my many years in the academy. It's not just that graduate students have begun to realize the incredible potential of their intellectual training, or that students and faculty have begun to chart out paths for themselves that leave behind traditional and often stifling academic career models. That is, it's not just about individuals becoming change agents in their own lives. The IE program, in contrast to the old wisdom and disciplinary insularity of the academy, has consistently proclaimed the power of unlikely collaborations. What can happen, Dean Cherwitz and Dr. Darwin have asked, if we get humanities students together with consultants to develop new entrepreneurial endeavors? What can happen, they ask, if we get designers, rhetoricians, and local non-profit leaders working together on community problems? What can we discover about ourselves, and what can we make happen in the world, if we start talking to some of those smart people out there who share some of our goals and ideals but work in different corridors? That is, what happens if we get imaginative, entrepreneurial, not just with WHAT we do, but HOW we do it and WITH WHOM we do it? Switching the academy out of its ever-increasing specialization and isolation, and into a mode of engagement, is part of what makes IE such a fast change agent.
Julie Sievers - Doctoral Student Austin, TX
As a guest lecturer to this program, I asked students what they were learning. Most of them were enthusiastic in claiming that they were learning a completely new way of thinking about their work--and of valuing themselves.
Betty S. Flowers - Professor (UT) Austin, Texas
Rick Cherwitz is forward thinking -- and FAST thinking! Those outside of the Academy may not appreciate the GUTS it takes to encourage entrepreneurship in academic life. Indeed, a weird sort of scholarly machizmo is created in many doctoral programs around the idea that one should spend brilliance and years dedicated to the arcane. Not at UT, not now, at least. Publish Cherwitz's initiative please! Fleets of otherwise undervalued (and even unemployed) young scholars will thank you . . .
Erika Allen - Dallas, TX -- USA
Cherwitz's brilliant innovations hearken back to the best of the rhetorical tradition (a tradition that claims him as one of its best scholars): the insistence that what's studied at the university must be brought to bear to better the community outside of the university.
Linda Ferreira-Buckley - Professor (UT) Austin, TX
Having served as a change agent in state government for more than a decade, I am truly heartened to see such an innovative approach to promoting change. Dr. Cherwitz is making a remarkable contribution with this program. I look forward to seeing the impact and results of this effort in the coming years.
Charla Ann King - Bastrop, Texas
The spirit of Intellectual Entrepreneurship that Rick Cherwitz has catalyzed and focused will have great impact well beyond the walls of the academy. It is not just about innovating higher education and bringing academic expertise to bear in the community. At its core is a vision and commitment to passionately engaged expertise that could transform the public and corporate arenas as well as the academic.
Tommy Darwin - Austin, TX
As we embark on developing a new graduate student professional development program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, we are looking to the University of Texas program led by Rick Cherwitz and his colleagues as a model upon which to build. The profoundly important opportunities for graduate students available at the University of Texas allow the graduate students to broadly formulate their professional identities and thereby more richly serve both themselves and the nation. The program, envisioned and created by Dean Cherwitz, is an inspiration for graduate schools throughout the nation
Robert D. Mathieu - Professor (Wisconsin) Madison, Wisconsin
The public funds universities hoping to realize some return on the investment. This program that Dr. Cherwitz has designed and entrepreneurially lead provides just that. By liberating graduate students from their often myopic and elitist views of the world, this program challenges and equips them to make a difference in the world around them.
Dr. Joel Wiggins - Director, Austin Technology Incubator, Austin, TX, USA
Our society desperately needs scholars who can communicate with the public. Partly because of the shortage of articulate scientists, our society suffers from widespread scientific illiteracy. A recent National Science Foundation survey, for example, showed that only 48% of the U.S. public knows that Earth takes 1 year to orbit the sun, and only 11% can define a molecule. How can this scientifically bereft society possibly make wise decisions on science-based issues involving the environment, medicine, defense and technology? Fortunately, the University of Texas's trail-blazing IE program is helping to boost our national supply of communicative scientists and other professionals by training them in talking to the public through books, articles and the media. Hopefully, other universities will follow the University of Texas's lead.
Lily Whiteman - U.S. Mint and science writer, Washington DC, USA
As co-chairman of the University of Texas' Graduate Student Assembly, I have had the privilege to work with Dean Cherwitz on many different aspects of the Intellectual Entrepreneruship program. Too often, graduate and professional students pigeon-hole themselves within the confines of their discipline; Dean Cherwitz has done more than anyone else at UT to bring students from across the University together to learn from and interact with each other. As a student in the School of Law, I have seen firsthand the benefits of students from outside the law school working with future lawyers and law professors through the interdisciplinary programs Cherwitz has created. If we are to solve the world's problems of the 21st Century, we have to work together and know a little bit about ADR, policy, business, biology, chemistry, and communication, in addition to our primary field of study. Cherwitz' program is making this future possible, today, at the United States' largest University.
Eric Opiela, Graduate Student Assembly Chair, University of Texas - Austin, TX
I have actually participated in the IE program at UT. It provides graduate students with a new and highly useful understanding of their skills and their value. It has certainly led me to reevaluate my future and to strive for a career that I WANT rather than one that I should expect. I have also seen how the traditional views of current administrations resist this approach to graduate training. I have grand hopes that other IE programs will be instituted at other universities, thereby boosting the acceptance of our own program and broadening its base of participants.
Ginger Gossman, Sociology Doctoral Student, University of Texas, Austin, TX
A concept with potential to empower the intellectual entrepreneurial student with significant control over the education they want and need. It overcomes the evolved bureaucracy and calcified procedures that resist change and innovation within higher education.
C. Meadows, LBJ School Professor, University of Texas Austin, TX, USA
Cutting edge for the academy...a bold and innovative initiative that cuts to the chase as young career-oriented academics strive to find out when, where, and how they really fit in. Also removes some traditional barriers, allowing for scholarly creativity and student ownership to flourish!
S A Haley, Graduate Student, University of Texas, ,Austin, Texas
Cherwitz's visionary program opens up the American economy to some of its brightest--yet marginalized--citizens. By encouraging doctoral students to apply their passion and expertise beyond the boundaries that the academy has traditionally set for itself, IE provides a powerful answer to those who question how a PhD in history or art can contribute materially to society. Cherwitz is creating a paradigm-shift in higher education.
Hadass Sheffer, Program Officer, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Princeton, NJ
Hey, in a time when we're worried about internal and external security threats and economic concerns we also need to keep an eye on higher education--an issue that will far outlive Osama Bin Laden. Cherwitz' innovative and energetic approach to revisioning an important segment of the intellectual community is attracting wide national attention. It is a program that is long overdue so that this nation's colleges and universities produce not just scholars but citizen scholars. Amrican society will be the better for it.
James W. Hikins, Communication Professor, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
In Academia, there are Researchers (skilled in setting up "studies" in support of a "research agenda"), Educators (skilled in teaching for the public interest), and Scholars (combining the best of both). Research universities more often than not spotlight and produce Researchers. Dr. Cherwitz' program produces Scholars.
K. Polk, Ph.D., Professor, North Texas University, Wichita Falls, Texas, USA
Dean Cherwitz was ahead of his time in developing the IE program. At a time where many of us were realizing that there are not enough traditional academic jobs (when we had been recruited in for that purpose), he took the lead to solve this crisis for UT graduate students. Ask any faculty member across the nation who is apprised of the current state of affairs for graduate students, and these people know Dean Cherwitz's name and IE program. Thanks for thinking of the real life training and issues of graduate students!
Kim Nixon, Neuroscience Post-doc, UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
Nothing is harder to turn around than higher education. It turns slower than the Queen Mary. Rick Cherwitz has done more, more quickly, to unite real life and real learning than anyone I know. He's had a huge impact on students as well as the university. Brilliant mind, a powerful vision of what higher education might mean and a fearless approach all meld in Rick to make him a very, very effective change agent in an arena that has seen too few such persons.
Gary Holthaus, Executive Director, Institute for the Humanities at Salado Salado, Texas, USA
Passion, energy, innovation, and tireless evangelism have made higher education sit up and take notice of Cherwitz' visionary thinking.
Laura Starks, Associate Dean of Business and Finance Professor University of Texas Austin, TX,, USA
As an employer of PhDs in the business world, and a Trustee of an institution of higher ed., I thoroughly endorse Cherwitz' efforts and program. This is what we need in our citizenry AND our businesses, well educated people with the spunk of entrepreneurs, i.e. people who see all sorts of connections, intellectually, and can make them work in the real world. A seminar I lead at Bryn Mawr College, called Business: A Liberal Art tries to do this for undergraduates and graduate students. Cherwitz has institutionalized it on a big scale and his work is a model of change for all universities and businesses. I hope he will take his program far and wide.
Juliet J. Goodfriend, Chairman Strategic Marketing Corporation Bala Cynwyd, PA, USA
There has long been a need to link graduate education with community interests, although universities have not always thought carefully about the form which this interface would take. At a time when universities are expected to be more publicly accountable, the timing seems especially right to consider every aspect of this issue. I'm happy to learn that Dean Cherwitz has already been working on this problem in a vital and intellectually engaging way. He is to be commended for his efforts.
Ken Zagacki, Professor North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
After receiving my PhD & teaching for a number of years, I left to join the corporate world for the same reasons Dr. Cherwitz instituted this program--because entrepreneurial approaches were sadly lacking in academia. The intelligence & diligence Rick Cherwitz has brought to this enterprise are remarkable--as are the results the IE program has achieved. Cherwitz's approach is exactly the kind of "outside the box" thinking that is so desperately needed in our universities today. Cherwitz is an academic visionary who deserves our respect & support--and many more accolades like this one.
Tim Martin, Ph.D., Advanced Micro Devices, Austin, TX USA
Rhetoric is the practical art and Cherwitz demonstrates his virtuosity as both scholar and administrator. Imagining and implementing the IE concept can make scholarship both valuable and relevant to the broader society. The ultimate source of power is the human imagination and the creativity it can unleash, Cherwitz and the notion of IE seek to make the best of both. Well done!
John Llewellyn, Professor Wake Forrest Winston-Salem, NC, USA
This is a literally unique program that may well become the norm in American universities at the graduate level. It certainly should, in any case. Rick Cherwitz is original, tuned to reality, and determined, with the energy of a hurricane.
Robert Weisbuch, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Princeton, NJ, US
Great project and truly innovative. This is a model for the country.
Ellen Wartella, Dean of Communication, The University of Texas, Austin, TX
In a time when creativity and community-mindedness are especially relevant, the program developed by Rick Cherwitz to foster these issues in the nation's graduate students is welcomed.
Dan Modaff, Professor Ohio University Athens, Ohio
A leader & an innovator! As a graduate of UT and a participant in several of the workshops and programs offered, I can honestly say the opportunities provided by Cherwitz were of great benefit to doctoral students. Challenging tradition and the average - Cherwitz is moving all of us to the future of graduate education. A program to be benchmarked!!
Justin Laird - SUNY Brockport, NY
I've known Cherwitz for over 12 years, and have observed the genesis and nurturing of the IE program. It's real. Cherwitz has consistently worked "outside the box" and this program is but one example of his dynamic leadership and innovation in the UT Office of Graduate Studies. His appointment as Associate Dean a few years ago truly did usher in a new era of program development in the Graduate School.
UT Colleague - Austin, TX
Dr. Cherwitz has definitely created a model of engagement for the academic world. The university has incredible resources to share with the larger community, and the academic community is looking for relevant ways to interact. Still a part of a rigid academic system, I squirm a little at the business terminology, but maybe that's the shake-up I need.
Cristina Aquino - South Bend, IN USA
This model has a number of immediate applications. Within the arena of public education, we are faced with a growing shortage of thoughtful, insightful leaders. Too many current school leaders are being lost to retirement and the pipeline that delivers the replacements is operating below capacity. The IE program has the potential to help address this dilemma.
David D. Anderson, Texas Education Association Austin, Texas USA
Over in my small corner of the University of Texas campus, the positive effect on our graduate students of Rick Cherwitz's IE program has been large indeed. Those who've participated are more articulate and confident as academicians and professionals, and (miracle of miracles!) they write better. Rick is a change meister.
Hillary Hart, Engineering Professor Austin, TX, USA
Now this is the way the academic world should work. Initiatives like those of Dr. Rick Cherwitz are both rare and crucial if the Academy hopes to have any relevance for the future. My complaints with the Academy are neither with it generating theory nor with it generating discipline-specific language when necessary. My complaint is that far too much of the Academy has succeeded in removing itself from anything practical, anything of merit, anything of virtue. Rick's brand of leadership charts a new course, one that gives life to the institution, to the faculty, and to the students. Everyone should be on board with Rick's band of academic entrepreneurs!
Jackson Niday , US Air Force Colorado Springs, CO USA
I've seen Dr. Cherwitz' program in action. Some of my own doctoral students have been the beneficiaries of this effort. As a department Chair and former graduate adviser, it is my firm belief that this is truly a groundbreaking effort that will serve as a model for other such efforts around the country. Indeed, it is the most innovative thing to come out of the University of Texas graduate school in all my years of teaching.
Jef I. Richards, Professor and Chair Austin, TX, USA
A visionary program that is long overdue in graduate education. As a person who has spent 20 years in higher education I am aware of no university that comes close to offering what Rick Cherwitz is providing University of Texas graduate students. Dr. Cherwitz's cutting edge approach is the best that I have seen in preparing students for the transition from graduate school to professional employment, in terms of both academic and non-academic careers.
Jeff Powell, Career Center Clemson, SC
This program is living proof that academic excellence is only enhanced by attention to the implications of scholarship not only for other scholars in the same discipline, but for the professions. Students coming out of these classes are poised to make a difference in their own lives, the lives of their students and their communities, and in the reforming of scholarly communities for the next (and current) millennium. "Accountability" is this program's watchword and ethic; it is the core of the new scholarly community that must be "citizen-scholars," not just specialists with senses of entitlement.
Katie Arens - Professor Austin, TX, USA
As an Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program participant, I can honestly say Rick's efforts changed my Graduate education. Unlike most electives that merely satisfy a simple curiosity, Rick's program became the culmination of my graduate studies at UT. Being part of a "living laboratory" has been extremely rewarding, and my decision to take the risk is reinforced every time an employer's eyebrows rise in curiosity as I explain my graduate education in an interview. The program is a natural segue into how my skills are valuable to the interviewer's organization, and I've yet to hear that innovation and problem solving are of no use to any of the companies I have spoken with.
Christopher Moran - Austin, Texas
Rick Cherwitz is an educator and administrator with a refreshing perspective. He is not only breaking down the administrative barriers within The University of Texas at Austin, but also he encourages creative and dynamic outside of the box thinking to develop new, innovative programs that will benefit the University, the local community, and the citizens in the State of Texas. Rick has been inspirational to me and supportive of the two non-traditional master's programs for which I administer. Soon we will have a third non-traditional master's program to add to our portfolio thanks to Rick's continued efforts.
Catherine S. Thomas - Austin, Texas USA
I have worked for Rick for 6 years as an Assistant Dean and he has consistently demonstrated his ability to be resourceful and creative both as a faculty member and an administrator. His novel approaches to graduate education are among the most innovative and effective in the field and are of very real benefit to the students here at UT as they confront not only the reality of the educational process here but also in helping them be prepared for what they face in their post UT careers. There should be more graduate educators like Rick who combine both a sense of not only how graduate students should be educated but how they should be prepared for their careers down the road.
Bill Paver - Austin, Texas, USA
When we write the story of how universities lived up to their potential as agents of social, cultural, and economic change, Rick Cherwitz and this Program will be right at the center. This initiative is critically important now.
Fellow Rhetorician - Austin, Tx
Isn't this what universities should be doing? I am proud and excited to use my hard-earned knowledge to work on real-world problems. Rick refers to us as citizen-scholars, an appellation that makes me very proud. My education has been greatly furthered by this wonderful program and by Rick's enormous enthusiasm.
Lori Stone, Psychology Doctoral Student - Austin, TX
Rick has done an outstanding job in revolutionizing graduate education. He's definitely on to something. The entrepreneurial spirit his program encourages transcends the coursework. It has been a tremendous benefit to me academically and professionally. This experience has given me the confidence and skills to pursue scholarly work, but has also provided the edge needed in meeting the demands of today's business challenges. The unusual combination of theory and practice, both in and out of the academe, is what makes his program enormously valuable to aspiring company executives. I'd rate the program a definite A+.
Paul J. Gilroy, President & CEO, ProEducation Solutions Sarasota, Florida
This is NOT "continuing education for graduate students." Anyone reaching that conclusion is undoubtedly giving the program a cursory look from "the suffocating and rigidly imposed boundaries, categories and ways of thinking" that Rick Cherwitz identified as IE's biggest obstacle. As a recent UT graduate, I considered this program the most important addition to the graduate school in my five years there. It serves as an incubator for innovation, not only generating new, quality programs each year, but also inspiring participants to look beyond stultifying, formulaic approaches to their personal and professional lives. As a result, it creates an environment in which graduate students feel encouraged to take risks, pursuing work that combines disciplined, academic research with an intuitive, entrepreneurial spirit.
R.W. Burniske, Ph.D. - Director of Professional Development, World Links for Development, World Bank - Washington, DC USA
The programs developed by Dr. Cherwitz have filled holes in the education of PhDs especially in the scientific fields who want to feel complete in not only their own areas of expertise but also its place in the university including our future roles as researchers, teachers, and leaders in academia and our communities. This is done in part by designing the program components in such a way that the branches of the university are brought together. Given the size of the University of Texas, this is no small accomplishment.
Mitch Pryor - Engineering doctoral candidate Austin, TX
To have achieved a paradigm shift in the world of academia is a hurculean feat! I hope that more universities will follow suit and produce graduate students that can actually think in a critical fashion that can add value to the "real world" of business.
Valerie Nanni - Norwalk, CT