In the Mellon Foundation Report, UT’s Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program was viewed “as the most ambitious” initiative nationally to “engage graduate students in work beyond the academy.” According to the Report:
“This campus-specific effort, begun in 1997 by Richard Cherwitz, then the Associate Dean of the graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, went beyond the humanities disciplines to enlist all graduate students in the arts and sciences in an effort “to discover how they can use their expertise to make meaningful and lasting differences in their academic disciplines and communities—to be what the program calls ‘citizen scholars’.” The program offered several cross-disciplinary, credit-bearing elective courses along with internships in such matters as consulting, ethics, communication, and technology; worked with community organizations to create “synergy groups”; provided advice on portfolios for students; and established a consulting service. Students were encouraged to “develop visions for their academic and professional work by imagining the realm of possibilities for themselves”—to take greater ownership of their education, learn to think across disciplinary boundaries as well as the boundary of academia itself, and gain experience in collaborative work.45 As a result, for instance, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering worked with an historian to develop storytelling techniques to increase scientific literacy. A PhD student in theatre working on the role of theatre in community development designed a business plan for a local arts incubator. A biology student, while pursuing specialized research, also developed means for explaining the more technical aspects of his field to a wide audience. And a government doctoral student in the wake of the September 11th attacks created an on-line network of political scientists interested in employing political theory to address real-world concerns. In all, over 3000 students in 90 programs participated in the program, but it suffered from changes in deanships at the graduate level and ultimately moved out of the graduate school to become more of an undergraduate-oriented program, where it continues today.”
Key Publications: Richard Cherwitz and Charlotte Sullivan, “Intellectual Entrepreneurship: A Vision for Graduate Education,” Change, Nov-Dec 2002, pp. 23-27.