Some might say entrepreneurship is an essential ingredient of a liberal arts education. UNCG agrees.
Building Entrepreneurial Learning for Life, or BELL, is starting this fall and will ensure that students, regardless of their majors, will be exposed to the world of starting and operating not-for-profit as well as for-profit enterprises.
“This is one of the most important efforts that UNCG has undertaken in recent years,” said Dr. Rosemary Wander, associate provost for research and public/private partnerships. “North Carolina needs more entrepreneurship, and initiatives such as this one are necessary for this region and the state to prepare for the future.”
BELL is founded on efforts already under way in the Bryan School of Business and Economics, and support is widespread across the rest of the UNCG campus, Wander said. She believes that BELL will help shape a culture of creative confidence, competence and courage that “weaves entrepreneurship into the fabric of the campus.” The approach is a broad one that includes business, social, civic, cultural and academic pursuits.
“We know that not everyone is destined to be an entrepreneur, but we do believe that exposing our students to entrepreneurial concepts is one of the best things we can do for them,” Wander said. “It gives students other ways of looking at their academic majors, at their career preparation, and ultimately how they will fit into the working world.”
The UNC Board of Governors has mandated that the economic development and needs of the state must become a central objective of the university system. While preparing citizens through a thorough grounding in the arts and sciences will always be UNCG's primary task, the BELL program recognizes that the university must prepare students for a work environment that is increasingly interdisciplinary.
“This program is a statement that a liberal education and an entrepreneurial mindset do not have to be mutually exclusive,” Dr. Timothy Johnston, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “We have always believed that a liberal education provides a strong foundation for success in a wide range of careers, and that liberally educated people are well-equipped to adapt to a changing world.”