Building a Creative Certificate Program in Creative Entrepreneurship

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipientMartin Gotfrit, Professor, School of Contemporary Arts, Associate Dean, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Project teamHoward Jang, Professor of Professional Practice, SCA, Cheryl Geisler, Professor, SIAT, Jon Festinger, Professor of Professional Practice, Master of Digital Media Program, CDM, Suzanne Norman,  Director of the Publishing Workshops at Simon Fraser University, research assistant

Timeframe: September 2015 to May 2017

Funding: $5,000  

Course addressed: FPA 389 – Surviving as a Creative Entrepreneur

Description: For the past several years, FCAT has been developing a certificate program in “Creative Entrepreneurship” (CE). The pilot course was launched successfully in Spring 2015; it will be repeated in Fall 2015, and again in Spring 2016. Our goal is a certificate program composed of (a) courses and workshops designed for CE, (b) other related courses at SFU, and (c) an internship component. Initially aimed at FCAT undergraduates in their upper division, we can imagine it growing into a post baccalaureate certificate as well as a non-credit program.

Traditionally universities have rarely acknowledged the need for training in what we believe is a unique form of entrepreneurship. Put another way, upon graduation these students won’t find a job advertisement specific to their training, and the measure of their success is quite different from that of a conventional entrepreneur.  Our proposed program is a way to get students to think about and prepare for what lies after graduation earlier than convocation; another goal is to introduce skills not usually taught in academic programs, to augment our student’s career development.  One of the cornerstones of our proposed program is its involvement with established as well as newly emerging professionals in CE’s related fields. Finally, we believe that courses in CE will give students more confidence to pursue their passions, encourage and nurture self-examination and personal planning, and expand their notions about what it is possible to achieve.

This grant will enable us to hire a researcher, who will seek out similar or related programs and gather information on program design, curriculum and any relevant metrics that will be useful in supporting the case for our certificate. We will also be looking for studies, texts, etc. that support the notion of CE training, as well as any researchers in this nascent field.  We intend to follow the students who complete the pilot course, as well as subsequent courses, in order to ascertain how useful the material is and how effective the teaching methods are.

Areas of literature addressed:

  • Review curricula of other entrepreneurship courses for materials and readings that focus on cultural or content “creativity” in an entrepreneurial context.
  • Academic research into businesses that focus on cultural or content “creativity”, including those of third part advisors.
  • Academic research contrasting “creativity” and “innovation”.
  • Academic research that cites “Creativity Inc.”
  • Research on best practices in following up with FPA 389 (initial pilot) students with a view to assessing which aspects of the course proved to be useful after graduation.
  • Research on incubators that deal with creative enterprises, including specifically any with university partners, including how operating principles, staffing etc.

Knowledge sharing: There are several avenues for dissemination that we can imagine at the moment. Firstly, we will use our faculty’s “Lean in Learning” event in the Spring of 2016 to have one of the teachers share the ongoing experience of the certificate development with faculty and TAs from FCAT. We may also bring in a student to speak about their experience so far.  Secondly, we’ll encourage a student to present their work from either the Spring or Fall 2015 offering of the pilot course at FCAT’s Undergraduate Research Conference in Spring of 2016. This will bring the program directly to the attention of students in the faculty as well as the senior administrators who attend. Thirdly, we will present at TLC’s Teaching and Learning Symposium in May of 2016. This will be a way to share our journey with a broader teaching audience.