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The Academic Intrapreneur Dossier

The Academic Intrapreneur Dossier

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers

Entrepreneurial universities and medical schools, as rare as they are, require intrapreneurial faculty i.e. faculty who are trying to act like entrepreneurs in their institutions. One way to recruit, develop and promote faculty intrapreneurs is to recognize their entrepreneurial inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes as part of the promotion and tenure process, which typically requires submitting a dossier to the promotion and tenure committee.

There is national and international recognition of the importance of innovation, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship for sustained economic revival. The Office of Budget and Management cites rising healthcare costs and the associate deficits to deal with it as a matter of national security.

With the decline of industrial research laboratories in the United States, research universities are being asked to play a central role in our knowledge-centered economy by the technology transfer of their discoveries, innovations, and inventions. In response to this challenge, innovation ecologies at and around universities are starting to change. However, the change has been slow and limited. Some researchers, myself included, believe this can be attributed partially to a lack of change in incentives for the central stakeholder, the faculty member. They have taken the position that universities should expand their criteria to treat patents, licensing, and commercialization activity by faculty as an important consideration for merit, tenure, and career advancement, along with publishing, teaching, and service.

Most dossiers require candidates for promotion and tenure to describe their activities in four areas: research, teaching, clinical care and service to the community. Most exclude entrepreneurship or do not give credit for entrepreneurial activities and that is a mistake, since innovation and entrepreneurship has become the fifth mission of academic medical centers. The new academic triple threat demonstrates leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. However, there is a disconnect between how academic leadership is defined and recruiting, developing and promoting faculty with an entrepreneurial mindset.

The intrapreneurial dossier might include the following in areas of entrepreneurial research, practice, education and service:

Materials from Oneself

  • Materials that show your entrepreneurial activity
  • Statement of entrepreneurial responsibilities (course titles and numbers, enrollments, required or elective, graduate or undergraduate)
  • A reflective statement describing personal entrepreneurial philosophy, strategies and objectives
  • Representative entrepreneurship course syllabi detailing content and objectives, methods, readings and requirements
  • Description of curricular and instructional innovations such as new course projects, materials, and class assignments and assessment of their effectiveness
  • Steps taken to evaluate and improve one’s entrepreneurial outputs and impacts.

Materials from Others

  • Materials from outside sources commenting on your development as an entrepreneur
  • Statements from colleagues who have either observed the entrepreneur in action
  • Student course or teaching evaluation data
  • Distinguished entrepreneurship awards or other recognition of entrepreneurial abilities.
  • Invitations to organize or present at a conferences, seminars or workshops

Products of Good Entrepreneurship

  • Materials that demonstrate your effectiveness as an entrepreneur or innovation and entrepreneurship opinion leader
  • Patents or evidence of other intellectual property
  • Licensing agreements
  • Spin out or startup metrics
  • Economic development metrics
  • Failures and how you applied lessons learned

Other Items that Might be Included

  • Testimonials
  • Community service and ecosytem activities and accomplishments
  • A statement by the dept. chair assessing the contribution of faculty entrepreneurship and innovation to the department

Creating an academic entrepreneurship portfolio documents accomplishments, satisfies policy mandates and is a excellent tool for pacing personal development and entrepreneurial progress. Fundamentally, it should explain and document the value you have created for your institution by your entrepreneurial efforts.

On many academic medical center campuses, the emphasis and metrics revolve around publications and research grant numbers. However, the difference between discovery and value creation has little to do with money. Instead, it has to do with leadership, culture, strategy, alignment, coordination and execution.

Barrier to participation by academic faculty, particularly clinical faculty, in the scholarship of entrepreneurship are:

  1. They do not get promotion and tenure credit for doing it
  2. The main message is they need to generate clinical revenue or find a way to buy out their clinical time
  3. The other faculty in the department get resentful and see non-clinical activity as dumping more work on them
  4. They are seen as trouble makers and bad rebels
  5. Lack of institutional support, infrastructure and resources
  6. Rigid policies and procedures that are anti-entrepreneurial
  7. “entrepreneurship” is a dirty word. The scholarship of innovation goes down easier.
  8. There is little or no alignment with department chairs
  9. Lack of strategic vision
  10. No one is leading innovators. Everyone seems to want to manage innovation

In addition, edupreneurs, i.e. those education intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs developing and deploying educational technologies, are critical if we are to change how we educate students and change an unsustainable education business model at all levels of education, but particularly for higher education and graduate and professional levels..

Maybe, some day, promotion and tenure committees will include your intrepreneurial accomplishments and actually give you some credit for achieving them.

Image credit: Pixabay

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