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Above, chemistry major Liz Dawson ’18 and philosophy major Dylan Girouard ’18 pitch their idea for an educational nonprofit at last April’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge. Below, students gather in the lobby of the Feigenbaum Center for Science & Innovation.

New Entrepreneurship Minor Enhances Liberal Arts


Entrepren FeigenbaumIt may be part of the Department of Business Administration and Economics, but a new entrepreneurship minor may be added to most – if not all – of the programs that MCLA offers.  Every discipline in the liberal arts, according to Dr. Thomas Whalen, associate professor of business, can be coupled with this new minor to make that degree more effective.

“Entrepreneurship can be part of any ongoing endeavor, whether it’s for profit or non-profit,” Whalen said. “You can be entrepreneurial in anything you are doing. This minor can be seen as an umbrella across all of the programs we have at MCLA.”

“I cannot think of a single major that cannot be brought into some sort of entrepreneurial endeavor,” Whalen continued. “For example, someone in education might develop a tutoring or a learning center. A chemist, biologist or a physicist might start up a testing lab to develop a new product. One area where you see a lot of innovation is in computer science. They are constantly coming up with new apps and new devices.”

This new entrepreneurship minor is closely tied to MCLA’s design thinking curriculum.

Design thinking is a new process for problem-solving that uses methods from traditional science and the humanities. It will be part of the new “Principles of Entrepreneurship” course, which students will take early on, according to Zachary Feury, project coordinator of the Feigenbaum Leads Initiative at MCLA.

“We have developed a number of entrepreneurship programs during the last few years that operate outside of the academic curriculum,” Feury said. “Having this minor is a highlight of this programming, and will be very beneficial. It will complement existing majors and help students to become more innovative and creative thinkers, as it prepares them for life after college, whether they pursue entrepreneurial careers or more traditional employment.”

Although some of the classes required for the entrepreneurship minor already are offered at the College, new courses will be added when the program is officially implemented in January 2018. Classes will include “Introduction to Leadership,” which is offered through the interdisciplinary studies department; existing business courses in “Marketing” and “Small Business Entrepreneurship”; “Accounting for Entrepreneurs,” which was developed specifically for this new minor; and a 400-level capstone course, “Entrepreneurship Studies Seminar.”

Whalen anticipates that many of those who enroll in the entrepreneurial minor will compete in MCLA’s annual “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge,” which first was held in April, thanks to a gift to support entrepreneurship education from Jack and Susy Wadsworth. At this inaugural competition, students competed for a $10,000 prize, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities to assist them in pushing their idea closer to realization.

Inspired by the leadership and innovative spirit of Armand and Donald Feigenbaum, The “Feigenbaum MCLA Leads Initiative,” centers on innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship, design thinking and community development. For more information, go to