Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University
There was a time when universities could be designed and driven by the logic of their own internal constructs, but we must now move beyond their historic models of elitism and isolation from society. Our colleges and universities must assume a new role: educating students capable of mastering and integrating a broad array of complex and interrelated disciplines rapidly in preparation for contributing the human capital from which we draw our future leaders in every sector of society. Our institutions must empower students with the intellectual flexibility, creativity, and capacity for innovation that will allow them to confront the accelerating massive complexity of our global society.
Unless colleges and universities are to appear as removed from the frontlines of change as the most remote monasteries of the Middle Ages, they must embrace a new entrepreneurial academic culture such as that advanced by Richard Cherwitz and the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin. Since becoming the president of Arizona State University, I have similarly sought to reconceptualize a large public institution as an "academic enterprise" that is at once competitive, dynamic, and attuned to the needs both of our constituencies and global society alike. Academic enterprise is at the heart of the foundational model for what we term the "New American University"--an egalitarian institution committed to the topmost echelons of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact [http://newamericanuniversity.asu.edu/].
"Enterprise" has been defined as a "purposeful or industrious undertaking, especially one that requires effort or boldness." Another definition terms it both a "mindset and a skill-set" that identifies opportunities in order to transform ideas into reality. At ASU we consider entrepreneurship the process of innovation and spirit of creative risk-taking through which the knowledge and ideas within the university are brought to scale to spur social development and economic competitiveness. ASU is committed to embedding the paradigm of entrepreneurship into the fabric of our institutional culture through a supportive infrastructure of resources to inspire students, faculty, and staff, and provide them with the necessary skills to turn their ideas into reality.
The concept of the "citizen-scholar" that the Intellectual Entrepreneurship program advances resonates with our own culture of academic enterprise. Consistent with the vision of the research university as a catalyst for societal transformation and guided by the spirit of academic enterprise, ASU is advancing groundbreaking transdisciplinary research focused on socially optimal outcomes. Our academic community is helping to build a sustainable environment and economy for Arizona, leveraging our region's competitive advantages through strategic global engagement, and tackling the major challenges and questions of our age [http://asuchallenges.com].
Just as the IE program engages students outside the traditional classroom, academic enterprise dovetails with our design aspiration of social embeddedness, which seeks to produce meaningful change through direct social engagement [http://community.asu.edu/]. And for students who seek direct immersion in entrepreneurial innovation, academic enterprise supports a robust array of opportunities in an innovation ecosystem. Instead of just teaching courses in entrepreneurship, we have decided to embed dynamic mechanisms for entrepreneurial innovation throughout our schools and departments. Students and faculty members alike receive institutional support to generate new enterprises-whether new ideas for products or processes or innovative new ventures in research or new for-profit startup companies [http://entrepreneurship.asu.edu/].
The correlations between the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin and our own institutional cultural of academic enterprise at Arizona State University are obvious. The IE initiative should serve as a model for institutions nationwide.