With the start of the 2020 fall semester, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) will launch the School of Entrepreneurship, the first of its kind in California. The unique program, one of less than 15 existing worldwide, will boost the university’s already highly successful entrepreneurship program.
The School of Entrepreneurship, housed in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, further places CSUSB as a leading entity in the growing field of entrepreneurship education, said Mike Stull, a professor of entrepreneurship and director of the university’s Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship, who will serve as the school’s director.
“Establishing the School of Entrepreneurship is an important step for CSUSB and the Jack H. Brown College as it evolves and innovates to meet the needs of students and the local community,” said Stull. “We envision a substantial positive impact, as it will further cement the JHBC reputation as a leader in the field of entrepreneurship education and increase the college’s ability to engage with the local business community in terms of relationships, collaboration, and resources.”
As a school of entrepreneurship, it will oversee and coordinate eight major academic programs in entrepreneurship with over 20 full- and part-time faculty, Stull said.
Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales said he was pleased to give the final approval to establish the School of Entrepreneurship, which had been championed at the department, college, Faculty Senate, and by the provost.
“The School of Entrepreneurship represents a truly wonderful and pioneering example of our mission here at Cal State San Bernardino in offering our students a challenging, yet rewarding, educational experience,” Morales said. “The school’s offerings and dynamic faculty will inspire our students to succeed and help prepare them for life after graduation where they will become our future business leaders and leading entrepreneurs.”
“Our entrepreneurship program has evolved to the point where it makes sense for it to control its own destiny as a distinct academic discipline,” said Lawrence Rose, dean of the Jack H. Brown College. “As a school, the program will gain greater visibility and collaboration campus wide. It will be able to innovate and engage different stakeholders across campus structures. Faculty recruitment will become easier, and employers will better understand what hiring a graduate from the School of Entrepreneurship can contribute to their organizations. I also strongly believe this will allow us to deepen our partnership with the community, bringing significant resources and collaborations that will benefit all parties.”
The creation of the School of Entrepreneurship will significantly raise the university’s profile in recruiting potential students and reinforcing its efforts to become a “destination” program that draws students from beyond the Inland Empire region, Stull said.
“Students are looking for programs that are leaders and innovators in the educational field and have the ecosystem that will support their goal to create new ventures or become innovative change makers in their career field,” Stull said. “CSUSB checks all the boxes in that regard – an innovative, well-established program that is going to the next level by creating a school of entrepreneurship.”
For the existing CSUSB entrepreneurship faculty, the designation will provide an advantage in applying for external research and grant funding. It will also create a significant competitive advantage as the school recruits for top faculty talent. The designation also allows for more interdisciplinary collaboration on campus and the potential for joint faculty appointments with fields such as art, natural sciences, social sciences and education.
The school will add to the university’s entrepreneurship program’s already high profile within the inland region with potential employers, donors and other organizations, which in turn enhances support for startup ventures as well as job and internship opportunities for students in the school, said Stull, who added that the hope is that this will attract more local professionals and entrepreneurs to support the school as mentors, guest lecturers and adjunct faculty.
The CSUSB entrepreneurship program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the leading accreditation for business academic programs worldwide and has evolved and grown substantially since it was launched in the early 2000s.
Enrollment has grown from fewer than 20 students in fall 2002 to its current total of 265 students. Program officials believe strongly that the entrepreneurship academic program could nearly double in five years.
This growth will be fueled by increasing interest in entrepreneurship among students from all different fields. In fall 2020, CSUSB is welcoming its largest ever freshman class in entrepreneurship, and the school is launching several new initiatives including a dedicated graduate degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, collaborative entrepreneurship academic programs with Art, Liberal Studies and Education and unique new courses such as The Improvisational Mind, a collaboration between entrepreneurship and theater arts faculty.
“We believe strongly that the entrepreneurship academic program can reach 500 students by 2025,” Stull said. “Supporting this potential growth is the fact that entrepreneurship expanded to our Palm Desert Campus in fall 2019 and is currently implementing a wide range of new courses and programs that appeal to students from every discipline on campus.”
As entrepreneurship has grown at CSUSB, the greater academic field of entrepreneurship has also grown and evolved to become recognized through research and programs as a distinct discipline in the field of business. These trends, coupled with the anticipation of future growth and development of the program, resulted in the unanimous decision by the CSUSB entrepreneurship faculty to propose the establishment of a new academic unit representing Entrepreneurship. The school, developed and approved over a three-year process, ultimately received unanimous approval from the Jack H. Brown College, the university Faculty Senate and CSUSB President Tomás Morales.
Stull said as entrepreneurship continues to evolve and grow as a distinct academic discipline, legitimate programs that aspire to national and global recognition are establishing distinct Schools of Entrepreneurship within their respective academic colleges. Universities such as Florida State University, Oklahoma State University and Drexel University are among the early adopters in establishing schools.
“Becoming the first School of Entrepreneurship in the state of California enables us to extend our existing brand as a top entrepreneurship program and continue to be an innovator both locally and within the CSU system with regard to entrepreneurship education,” Stull said. “Potential students will be drawn to CSUSB as we practice what we preach – innovation, growth and applying the entrepreneurial mindset to achieve impact.”