UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Anne Hoag, associate professor of communications, has been appointed director of the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) effective January 2016.
Created in the fall of 2013, the minor helps students gain the entrepreneurial skills necessary to channel their passion for a particular discipline or field of study into an entrepreneurial venture, or innovate within an existing company — an invaluable skill in today’s ever-changing global economy.
The entrepreneurship ecosystem has been growing at Penn State in large part due to Penn State President Eric Barron’s Invent Penn State initiative that aims to “develop a culture that encourages, nurtures and rewards entrepreneurship — not just in STEM, but in the arts, health and human development, education, and more.” New enterprises include student clubs like Innoblue, Penn State’s Launchbox, local organizations like the New Leaf Initiative, and a community of local entrepreneurs who open their doors to advise and mentor students.
The ENTI minor requires students to take three core courses in entrepreneurial mindset, leadership and new venture creation, in addition to courses specific to their area of concentration, called a cluster. To date, clusters have been created in food and bio-innovation (College of Agricultural Sciences), new media (College of Communications), new ventures (Smeal College of Business), social entrepreneurship (College of Engineering), technology (College of Engineering), digital innovation (College of Information Sciences and Technology), hospitality management (College of Health and Human Development), and the arts (College of Arts and Architecture), with more on the horizon.
The minor hopes to impart to students a mindset and practice around opportunity recognition and the confidence and skills to act on those opportunities. “Those are the two things that set entrepreneurs apart from the rest,” said Hoag. “A lot of us get good ideas but we don’t know how to act on them.”
Hoag brings to the role extensive experience as a cable television system general manager and Penn State administrator, along with a strong connection to the minor through her role as coordinator of the new media cluster. As an entrepreneurship researcher, Hoag studies the conditions under which people start new media outlets, and she is believed to have taught the first media entrepreneurship class in the United States.
Hoag is excited to take on the role of director and her background in management will benefit the minor moving forward. She credits Liz Kisenwether, inaugural director of ENTI, with making it such a success. “This minor wouldn’t have gotten off the ground and wouldn’t have been as successful as it has been without the deep knowledge, relationships, and talent of Liz Kisenwether. She’s an entrepreneur, she knows how to run a startup, and she was able to get a really fantastic, talented, and generous team of faculty, staff, and community members to create an entrepreneurship ecosystem and get the minor off the ground.”
Among the goals of her tenure, Hoag hopes to make students aware of all the entrepreneurship education resources available to them. “I want every Penn State student, undergraduate and graduate, to know that this program, and the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem, exist and that they have access to them,” said Hoag.
The ENTI minor is currently available mainly to students at University Park, but Hoag hopes to change that by rolling it out at the campuses. “To have entrepreneurial passion bubbling out in the 20 locations around the state could really make a difference in the lives of our students and in turn, their positive impact on the economy of the Commonwealth,” said Hoag.
Other goals include creating study abroad opportunities for ENTI students, making entrepreneurship education available at the graduate level, and bringing more alumni entrepreneurs into the ecosystem to support the minor.
“This is an exciting time for the program as it moves out of its startup phase and begins to mature in the context of new University entrepreneurship initiatives. We look forward to the continued momentum of the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation under Dr. Hoag’s leadership in the years ahead,” said Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education.
To learn more about ENTI, visit enti.psu.edu.
The Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.