A Timely Return to the Classroom

In late August, I return to the classroom as a lead (or, in this case, co-lead) teacher after a fourteen year hiatus. — Pause — “14 year gap?” — Pause some more. — “What gives?”

The truth is, I need to breathe deeply and exhale before adequately attempting to explain.

First, to me, teachers (and entrepreneurs) are heroes, exemplars of what is right about humanity, guides for the future of the same. I consider the preparation and guidance of tomorrow’s doers, thinkers, and leaders the most important endeavor that a human can undertake. I posit the role of teaching as one of the most noble, impactful professions that a person can enter, sustain, and exit. And, with Bachelors and Masters degrees pegged to this very profession and with over a decade of teaching experience, I willingly left this role in 2001 to broaden the ‘impact wingspan’.

That’s right, my story is one of education impact broadly writ, from different angles, with different levers, with varying degrees of innovation and empathy, but with a steadfast focus on the end user. In my case, that end user shifted from the learner to the entrepreneur and now is somewhat of a melding of the two.

TU Students: We are 150 years into the journey.

This fall semester, in a more curricular tip-off of Towson University’s 150th Anniversary year, I am co-teaching a brand new course (ENTR 110: “Creativity and Idea Development”) to undergraduates as part of a new non-business entrepreneurship minor, hosted and accredited by the College of Business & Economics. Yes, my honor. Yes, my privilege. Yes, I am excited. And, yes, I have plenty of anxiety, too. But, it’s absolutely the right time to jump back into the teaching & learning foray.

Nearly two years ago, in October 2013, I began a full-time position as Towson University’s first Director of Entrepreneurship. I wrote a post about the rationale here. It has been: 1) amazing to circle back to a dynamic learning community; 2) meaningful to distill experiences and avail scar tissue from the last decade or so as a venture investor; and, 3) rewarding, with a hard-working, youthful team, to pilot a new program (Student Launch Pad), revise and focus another (TU Incubator), and complete our fifth annual Business Plan Competition, an ever-improving experience for professionals and students. We disclose some of what we do in the video below.

And, all this programmatic activity dovetails extremely well into the non-business entrepreneurship minor and further imbues the spirit of entrepreneurship and social enterprise across all facets of the Towson University community — and beyond. But now, with a formal pedagogical tilt, I am really coming full circle, really delving back into where my career began, albeit in a different slice of the learning continuum.

So, here’s to the launch of ENTR 110, to the launch of the non-business entrepreneurship minor at Towson University, to the belief that many of the world’s most innovative and successful entrepreneurs just might NOT come out of a business school but could sure use the support of one. I don’t know where all this is going but the plane’s in the air and we’re assembling the tail. Or is it the wing? Wish us luck! #onward

If you liked this post and want to share it, hit the Recommend button below, which means more prospective education entrepreneurs will see it. You can also find me over on Twitter and other places via FrankBonsal.com. Thanks!

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