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Bresler Intellectual Entrepreneurs

Bresler Intellectual Entrepreneurs

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Published by Teresa M. Tipton

12 Visual Arts Research Volume 35, number 1 summer 2009: University Faculty as Intellectual Entrepreneurs: by Liora Bresler, University of Illinois

Focusing on intellectual entrepreneurship, I suggest in this article that entrepreneurial qualities can enhance faculty’s roles in cultivating high-impact research, teaching, and service. Academic intellectual entrepreneurship involves vision and creativity in exploring, identifying, and creating opportuni

12 Visual Arts Research Volume 35, number 1 summer 2009: University Faculty as Intellectual Entrepreneurs: by Liora Bresler, University of Illinois

Focusing on intellectual entrepreneurship, I suggest in this article that entrepreneurial qualities can enhance faculty’s roles in cultivating high-impact research, teaching, and service. Academic intellectual entrepreneurship involves vision and creativity in exploring, identifying, and creating opportuni

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Published by: Teresa M. Tipton on Jul 09, 2011
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12Visual Arts Research
V 35, nr 1 sr 2009
© 2009   bard  tr   uivri  Iii
University Faculty as IntellectualEntrepreneurs: Vision, ExperientialLearning, and Animation
Focusing on
intellectual
entrepreneurship, I suggest in this article that entrepreneurial qualities can enhance faculty’s roles in cultivating high-impact research, teaching, and service. Academic intellectual entrepreneurship involves vision and creativity in explor-ing, identifying, and creating opportunities; a process of experiential learning including craft and learning from failures; and team leading and 
animation
in working to ren-der a vision into an entity that interacts with others’ experiences.
Te concept o entrepreneurship has long been associated with business and nance.In the past ew years that concept has been broadened. One use came out a coupleo years ago in a widely acclaimed PBS documentary on social entrepreneurship with the evocative title o 
Te New Heroes 
. Te documentary eatured people like SriLankan Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus and his micronancing project,along with  other social entrepreneurs rom all over the world—India, China,South America, and Arica. Te emphasis was on people with extraordinary projectso social service and impact. Tese projects involved visions and innovative ideas,as well as tremendous persistence and the ability to work with various groups o people, negotiating and persuading them to carry these projects to ruition.Focusing on
intellectual 
entrepreneurship, I suggest that entrepreneurial quali-ties can greatly enhance aculty’s roles in cultivating high-impact research, teaching,and service. Qualities already shared by entrepreneurs and academics include vision,resh perception, and creativity in exploring, identiying, and creating opportunities;and persistence in a process o learning. Academic learning is oten theoretical andtext based. Entrepreneurship involves experiential learning that includes taking risks
Liora Bresler University of Illinois
 
and learning rom mistakes. Moreover, one o the things that entrepreneurs in eco-nomic, social, and intellectual domains must do is to develop the projects to ensurethat the product” interacts with people’s experiences so as to bring about change.Tis is diferent rom the traditional roles o aculty. Faculty are expected to publishpapers but are not responsible or their impact. Tey are expected to teach, but theonus on learning is on students. Academic intellectual entrepreneurs embody thecommitment to useulness and impact in their scholarship, teaching, and service. Iregard the entrepreneur as an
animator 
, working with others to render a vision intoan entity that interacts with others’ experiences.
The Context of Academia
In the contemporary academic scene, two orces seem to operate with great inten-sity: accountability and subjectivity. Te rst orce, part o a knowledge society in a globalized inormation age, concerns increased accountability in the primary,secondary, and tertiary levels. In the tertiary level, accountability entails stron-ger expectations or research products (e.g., papers, books), generation o grantmoney, and evidence o impact within the disciplinary eld. Tis is happening not just in the United States but also in European and Asian countries, and is evidentin universities where promotion and mission were traditionally related to teachingas opposed to research.Tese processes and expectations are perceived by academics with apprehen-sion. Mary Burgan (00), ormer general secretary o the American Associationo University Proessors, regards the steady acceptance o the market model o competition applied to American education as a “colossal blunder that threat-ens its very identity” (p. xxi). Education, she writes, is one o our most preciousservices to one another: “Under market pressures, colleges and universities are indanger o losing their ability to provide human answers to the very human prob-lems that are evolving in this st century.” Burgan’s concerns are shared by many,mysel included. Given these economic contexts o academic lie, it is importantthat academics reconsider our roles and missions in order to respond to those pres-sures with agendas that reect our personal commitments and raison d’être, largerthan the nancial and more meaningul than sheer numbers.Tese reconsiderations, I suggest, are supported by the second orce operatingin the social sciences—subjectivity. Subjectivity is central to the postmodern turn, which assumes that social reality is constructed and created (Lincoln & Guba, 98)rather than objective and single. Te postmodern turn highlights the researcher’sperspective, voice, and subjectivities (e.g., Peshkin, 988), suggesting that interpretiveresearch begins with the biography and the sel o the researcher (Denzin, 989).
1
13
lira brr 
Vision, Experiential Learning, and Animation
 
14Visual Arts Research
sr 2009
Tis subjectivity accommodates a view o the researcher that shares impor-tant traits with artists. In my own work (Bresler, 00), I have examined the waysin which the arts provide rich and powerul models or perception, conceptualiza-tion, and engagement or both makers and viewers.
2
I have been interested in thepotential o the arts to cultivate habits o mind that are directly relevant to theprocesses and products o research.In this article, I discuss what I regard as important mind-set and characteris-tics o academics within the current culture o the knowledge society. While many o these characteristics are related to those habits o mind o the artistically sensi-tized researcher, the concept o the entrepreneur highlights additional aspects.
Academic Intellectual Entrepreneurs
Beore attempting to dene academic intellectual entrepreneurship (AIE), letme say what AIE is not. Te goal o intellectual entrepreneurs in academia is notto satisy short-term university-market demands. It is not to produce a quota o publications to meet tenure or promotion requirements, nor is it to produce aprodigious number o (o necessity repetitive) works. Richard Cherwitz (000)coined the term
intellectual entrepreneurship
, stressing the goal o educating citizenscholars, and dened it as ollows:
Intellectual entrepreneurs, both inside and outside universities, take risks andseize opportunities, discover and create knowledge, innovate, collaborate andsolve problems in any number o social realms: corporate, non-prot, govern-ment, and education. Te aim o IE is to educate “citizen-scholars”—individuals who own and are accountable or their education and who utilize their intellec-tual assets to add to disciplinary knowledge and as a lever or social good.
My own ocus on academic settings denes academic intellectual entrepre-neurship as cultivating high-impact research, teaching, and service. Indeed, thesethree traditional components o academe—research, teaching, and service—canbe conceptualized as highly entrepreneurial activities, providing a rich space orcreativity and innovation, compatible with the cutting-edge mission o academics.Te image o the academic as entrepreneur is motivated by the recognitiono unprecedented opportunities to expand the role o academics beyond tradi-tional, oten sel-imposed boundaries. Te crossing o disciplinary boundaries andthe ensuing cross-ertilization have generated new disciplines such as computa-tional neuroscience, biophysics, molecular biology, and psychological economics.Not only do contents o academia change, but also their ormats are being shapedby new inormation technologies and their audiences expanded. Although thesetrends have evolved over a long period, they have vastly accelerated in the last 0

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