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Entrepreneurship has long been a part of higher education curriculums, particularly within faculties of management and business. Just as research has become multidisciplinary and data intensive, so too has the competitive business environment. More recently, the focus has been on expanding entrepreneurship outside of the business schools and bringing opportunities to students within other faculties. The purpose of campus entrepreneurship initiatives is to provide faculty and students outside of the traditional business programs the opportunity to participate in, and collaborate with their colleagues and peers in the development of new technologies, ideas, and businesses, both inside and outside of the classroom. This has been, in part, supported by higher education’s growing emphasis on experiential learning opportunities to enhance engagement and prepare students for the workforce.
Library support for entrepreneurship has typically been provided through business libraries and/ or librarians. The knowledge and expertise these discipline-specific librarians offer faculty and students can be enhanced and expanded through collaborations with functional specialist librarians in areas such as data services, GIS, digitization, makerspaces, etc., providing many opportunities for librarians outside of business schools to become involved with entrepreneurship activities. While many of the current services offered to faculty and students can be extended to support new experiential learning models, research libraries may be developing specific services and/or collections to support emerging models of entrepreneurship on campuses.
In this survey, entrepreneurship opportunities are described as courses, programs, activities, facilities, funding, and support that provide faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial knowledge and skills and/or launch new companies or ventures, both inside and outside of the classroom. Activities can include formal courses and programs, co-curricular or extracurricular activities such as bootcamps, business plan competitions, or internships. The unique feature of campuswide initiatives is that they are not limited to, or reside in a specific faculty, school, or program. Physically, they may be dispersed around and even off-campus, residing in multiple faculties, departments, or facilities, including incubators, accelerators, or SmartParks. They may be centrally coordinated by a separate office of campus entrepreneurship or be a loosely coordinated set of offerings by various campus stakeholders.
The purpose of this survey was to investigate how ARL member libraries are supporting campus entrepreneurship, both inside and outside of the classroom. It asked about the types of library services and resources, funding models, staffing and administrative support, assessment, and the unique challenges of supporting these programs. These results are based on responses from 60 of the 124 ARL member libraries (48%) by the deadline of March 31, 2017.