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A study of public post-secondary entrepreneurship education in British Columbia : the possibilities and challenges of an integrated approach Myrah, Kyleen

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to document the current provision o f public post-secondary undergraduate entrepreneurship courses and programs in British Columbia through curriculum analysis and interviews with educators, in order to explore the possibilities and challenges of an integrated approach. An integrated approach to entrepreneurship education involves elements of what is valued from both a liberal and vocational context. Two key questions guided this study: What is the state of undergraduate entrepreneurship education in public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia? What needs to happen in order to bring an integrated approach to entrepreneurship education? Entrepreneurship curriculum documents were reviewed through content analysis to achieve a broad mapping of the undergraduate post-secondary entrepreneurship education environment in British Columbia. By conducting 12 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with educators working in the entrepreneurship field, these materials were brought to life by the people who actually developed and used them in their educational practice. Four major findings emerged from the study. Entrepreneurship is not yet well established in the public post-secondary context in British Columbia, as evidenced by the programming offered at the undergraduate level. There is diversity in philosophies of entrepreneurship education, from technical, skill-based approaches, to broader and more expanded approaches. Educators do identify entrepreneurship as its own field of education, distinct from closely related areas such as management and small business. They also recognize there are challenges in their practice that exist at the market, institutional, collegial, and student level, which influence the development of the field and how it is supported and positioned in the public post-secondary context in British Columbia. These issues have created dilemmas and pedagogical challenges for educators including student expectations and demands, lack of resources, institutional limitations, teaching frustrations, time constraints and the inadequate treatment of ethics, and a lack of faculty willing to work in the entrepreneurship area. The study concludes with strategies for educators, and outlines several recommendations to support an integrated approach to entrepreneurship education.

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