Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Tonette S. Rocco

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Alan L. Carsrud

Third Advisor's Name

Delia C. Garcia

Fourth Advisor's Name

Irma Becerra-Fernandez

Fifth Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio Jr.

Keywords

entrepreneurship education, adult education

Date of Defense

11-8-2011

Abstract

Along with the accumulation of evidence supporting the role of entrepreneurship in economic development (Acs & Armington, 2006; Kuratko, 2005, Reynolds, 2007), governments have persisted in encouraging people to become entrepreneurs (Acs & Stough, 2008; Brannback & Carsrud, 2008). These efforts have tried to reproduce the conditions under which entrepreneurship emerges. One of these conditions is to develop entrepreneurial skills among students and scientists (Fan & Foo, 2004).

Entrepreneurship education within higher education has experienced a remarkable expansion in the last 20 years (Green, 2008). To develop entrepreneurial skills among students, scholars have proposed different teaching approaches. However, no clear relationship has been demonstrated between entrepreneurship education, learning outcomes, and business creation (Hostager & Decker, 1999).

Despite policy makers demands for more accountability from educational institutions (Klimoski, 2007) and entrepreneurship instructors demands for consistency about what should be taught and how (Maidment, 2009), the appropriate content for entrepreneurship programs remains under constant discussion (Solomon, 2007). Entrepreneurship education is still in its infancy, professors propose diverse teaching goals and radically different teaching methods. This represents an obstacle to development of foundational and consistent curricula across the board (Cone, 2008). Entrepreneurship education is in need of a better conceptualization of the learning outcomes pursued in order to develop consistent curriculum. Many schools do not have enough qualified faculty to meet the growing student demand and a consistent curriculum is needed for faculty development. Entrepreneurship instructors and their teaching practices are of interest because they have a role in producing the entrepreneurs needed to grow the economy.

This study was designed to understand instructors’ perspectives and actions related to their teaching. The sample studied consisted of eight college and university entrepreneurship instructors. Cases met predetermined criteria of importance followed maximum variation strategies. Results suggest that teaching content were consistent across participants while different teaching goals were identified: some instructors inspire and develop general skills of students while others envision the creation of a real business as the major outcome of their course. A relationship between methods reported by instructors and their disciplinary background, teaching perspective, and entrepreneurial experience was found.

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