REFLECTING, ACTING, AND DOING: USING WRITING, ROLE-PLAYING, & SERVICE LEARNING TO EXPLORE DIVERSITY IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP Cathleen A. Folker University of Wisconsin-Parkside Department of Business 900 Wood Road, P.O. Box 2000 Kenosha, Wisconsin 53141-2000 262-595-2407 Fax 262-595-2680 [email protected] ABSTRACT Engaging students in learning Entrepreneurship through the lens of a diverse entrepreneur can be a challenge. This paper will discuss the methods used in an elective Entrepreneurship class to engage not only the women and minority students but also the white male students who were courageous enough to register for the class. Assignments used included many different teaching and learning techniques such as service-learning, reflection, and role-playing. This paper will also discuss faculty reflections as the course evolved over 3 different semesters. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Teaching entrepreneurial diversity can be challenging, especially in a predominately non-diverse private university setting. Over the course of three different semesters in which the course was taught, through reflection and learning, the course changed to enable students to better connect with the subject matter. Content included readings on women and immigrant entrepreneurs (both from a historical perspective as well as a current perspective), ethnic entrepreneurial communities, global entrepreneurs, and, as the course evolved, youth entrepreneurs, micro-enterprise development and social entrepreneurship. A variety of teaching techniques were utilized, some discontinued and others refined as the semesters went on. Reflection was continually refined until during the last semester, students were reflecting not only on their service learning and the readings, but also reflecting on what they learned from guest speakers and field trips. The service learning component also evolved. Utilizing two different non-profit agencies that helped minority and women entrepreneurs in various ways, the author created student projects that would involve students in service learning in a way that they could apply to the concepts and readings from the class. With one of the agencies, students had the opportunity to do some primary research in the field ­ interviewing minority entrepreneurs. One student presented his work at an undergraduate research day and was the only business student presenting that semester. Student reflections indicate that service-learning helped them to understand the material, expand their horizons, and encouraged their own civic behavior.

INTRODUCTION Teaching a diversity class to a non-diverse audience is a challenge. Textbook learning is not sufficient to change attitudes and beliefs. Working to appeal to the limited number of female and minority Entrepreneurship majors but also to the majority of white male Entrepreneurship majors, the author created learning opportunities to engage all students. Throughout three semesters of teaching the course, the author changed the course to attract more students and also to engage those who enrolled. CHANGING COURSE OBJECTIVES Initially the course objectives included identifying various types of diversity in entrepreneurship and how it impacted success in funding, starting and managing a business; understanding the role of entrepreneurship in economic development and evaluating how programs and public policy influence entrepreneurship. Content used to cover these objectives included some historical context including African Americans, Women, and other immigrants (e.g.Bates, 1997; Sibley-Butler, 1991; & Light & Bonacich, 1988); government and policy issues (e.g. House-Soremekun, 2002); more current immigrants (e.g. Saxenian, 1999). Additional content included the history of women entrepreneurs (Kwolek-Folland, 1998); how women entrepreneurs were different (Moore & Buttner, 1997); stories of real women entrepreneurs (Ericksen, 1999); as well as global entrepreneurs (Radeav, 2002). As the class evolved, the objectives changed to look at how change, uncertainty and adversity give rise to new entrepreneurs. New content added included microenterprise development (Klobuchar & Cornell-Wilkes, 2003; Servon, 1999); social entrepreneurship (Bornstein, 1996; 2004) and youth entrepreneurs (Simmons, 2003). The course title changed from Diversity Issues in Entrepreneurship to Entrepreneurship in a Changing America. The change in course objectives and title encouraged more white male students to enroll. PEDAGOGY How best to get students involved? In addition to reading articles, writing quiz questions and discussing in class, students write "thought papers" in which they reflected on what they learned. Reflection, Acting, and Doing became a way to get the students involved and learning. Doing involved a community-based project or service-learning. Service learning has been growing rapidly (Howard, Gelmon & Giles, 2000) and has a positive impact on student development (Astin, 2000). "Some of the most important outcomes of service-learning involve changes in people's beliefs, attitudes and values." (Astin, 2000; pg. 99). Service learning helped to engage students in challenging their own belief system, enabling them to grow beyond their comfort zone. Community-based learning is a broader concept than service learning and can incorporate other community involvement such as field trips and guests speakers. Service learning involves not just an involvement in the community, but also structured reflection, applying and acquiring skills, curricular credit, and service rendered (Mooney & Edwards, 2001).

Field Trips and Guest Speakers During the semester the class would travel to 1 or 2 field trips as well as have several guest speakers and reflect briefly (one page) on their learning from these community-based learning initiatives. Reflecting: Thought papers consisted of 2-3 pages in which students synthesized the top 3 key points they gained from the readings as well as their reactions to the information and any insights they gained. They also included two questions that the readings incited them to learn more about. Acting: One semester students completed a role playing exercise in which they would choose a specific diverse entrepreneur and put themselves in their shoes. Students had a difficult time with the assignment. Instead of looking at the world through the eyes of a diverse entrepreneur, students tended to just utilize class examples and tell the story of the entrepreneur. Doing: A major component of the class was a community-based project in which they had the opportunity to help some of the various organizations in the local area that supported women and minority entrepreneurs. The kinds of projects included either specific needed business-related project for a diverse entrepreneur or specific needed projects for the community partners. The first semester students working on projects for individual entrepreneurs did not get to meet the entrepreneurs; instead they worked with the contact person at that agency. By the second semester, students wanted to meet the people that they were working on projects for; so that was arranged and made a huge difference in the learning outcomes for the students. One semester students interviewed minority entrepreneurs in order to find out how the nonprofit organization was best helping the entrepreneurs.. One student presented his research at the undergraduate research day on campus and was the only business student to present. His title was "Through the Eyes of a Minority Entrepreneur". STUDENT REFLECTIONS An important part of outcome validity for service learning is to "know what learning outcomes occur as a result of the service ­ for students and for community members" (Shumer, 2000; pg. 78). This involves self-assessment. Designing the class based on theories about service learning and then evaluating the outcomes in light of theory provide a basis in which the learning may be generalized (Bringle & Hatcher, 2000; pg 68). The following is a reflection on service learning by the students from the second class. The comments are presented by the themes present which are similar to themes in the literature on service-learning (e.g. Simons & Cleary, 2005). Many of the comments reflect more than one theme. Identifying with Community Recipients My learning experience in this course was great. I enjoyed almost everything about it. From the field trips to the guest speakers, overall this course has increased my understanding of women and minorities.

Developing the marketing plan for _________ turned out to be a much larger time commitment than I originally anticipated. The marketing research required a substantial commitment to understanding the ________ culture. The development of the marketing plan introduced us to many of the challenges minority businesses face when trying to expand into the American culture. I feel we tied the service learning project into the lessons from class through firsthand application of the subject material. Reading about the difficulties of minority entrepreneurs of all different races allowed us to identify obstacles facing __________ and forced us to change our way of thought to adapt to the challenges of the business. Practical application and observation reinforced the lessons of the class to create a life-long learning experience. Identifying with the struggles of minority businesses, I will see the businesses in a different context from this day forward. Volunteering at __________ has given me a broad perspective of ways in which women can become empowered. In conclusion, I feel that the service learning project was one of the most interesting and enjoyable projects I have ever done. It was interesting and enjoying because by working hands on with a minority I got to see the struggles and challenges that minorities have to deal with. These struggles are something we read about and talked about in class, but actually working one on one with a minority to overcome these challenges was much more meaningful to me then reading and discussing in class. Also, because of this project I will look up to minority entrepreneurs because they face more challenges then I could have ever imagined. Enhancing Academic Learning Working with _________ has been a great experience. It has provided me with the opportunity to take knowledge that I have gained in the classroom, and expand on that in a new environment. After observing _________, I came to realize what am impact having a mentor or support system is. As we discussed in class, having a reality check and a "sounding board" to bounce ideas off of, are very helpful and important. Throughout the project we were mostly in contact with ______, who is the sister of _______, who stressed to us that the majority of the business decisions are made by the family. From the class readings and lectures we knew that minority owned businesses relied highly on their families. When ___ and I first went to visit _______, ______ treated us like family.

I really enjoyed interviewing minority entrepreneurs for the servicelearning project. While reading articles in the text provides us with background information about what minorities face when starting a business, there is nothing better than actually meeting with an entrepreneur face-to-face and hearing what they actually went through. What is interesting about my project is that I actually only met with women-owned businesses. I enjoyed hearing their stories because I plan on starting my own business. The experiences that ______, ________, ________, and ______ faced were similar to what we read about women entrepreneurs during class. It is always nice to change up and have a presenter like that (our guest speaker), as it is nice to have those interviews ­ it gives us a real example of what it is we are reading about and sidetracks from the "textbook protocol" that so many classes follow. It is easy for me to relate my learning experience at ____ to what I have learned this semester in class, regarding issues that women and minorities face when starting a business. Just as _____ helps its client's career goals grow successfully, ______ has also helped me to grow through its volunteer opportunities. Overall, ___ has allowed me to apply my skills that I have developed throughout college, and to also learn and use new skills that I can work on developing, which will help me as I start my own career. This has been a wonderful experience and will continue to be as I volunteer/intern at _______ throughout the summer. Going Beyond Their Comfort Zone I enjoyed networking with other entrepreneurs. This was a time of growth for me, as I was taken out of my comfort zone. Many of the women were older and more experienced than I am. It reminded me that it is important to surround yourself with people who are better than you, so that you are always reaching to the next level. My third interview was with _____. It took me a while to find the place since it was in an area I was very unfamiliar with. It was a bit frightening for me to walk into the restaurant ­ it seemed like everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me for a few seconds, almost like I was lost! I was the only white person in the restaurant and I was a bit uneasy about this. After meeting _______ though I felt a lot more comfortable. He was a very nice, interesting person to meet. He was from ______, and so were all of his waitresses and cooks, everyone who worked in the establishment. ________ was extremely interesting to interview. His whole culture that he informed me of was awesome, something that I never knew before. The food he served was strictly authentic from his

country of origin. I sat and talked with him for about 10 minutes after the interview about what he expected to do in the future, and he had a pretty positive attitude toward the growth of his business, yet he stressed the fact that he needed a solid customer base before he could do anything else. The restaurant itself was very nice, almost a bit too simple in a way, but a customer could get a sense of culture since the music was extremely different and in another language. ...... I am planning to eat there but have yet to make it back because of my schedule. Applying to Future Overall the course and the research project have taught me valuable lessons that I will keep in mind, when I start my own business. Learning from the clients that I interviewed I know that it can be a hard process to start a business, because I am a minority. I must be open minded and realize that there are possible problems that may happen. I also plan to continue to volunteer in the community, hopefully offering services to entrepreneurs, as many times they need people who have degrees in business. I look forward to continuing a relationship with this organization. I hope that ______ can use our research to make their processes even more beneficial to the entrepreneurs that they help. Enjoyable Experience From the moment I entered the _________ office, I knew that I would have a positive experience. The staff and participants in these programs are really committed to learning and advancement. It is a very healthy and thriving environment. I was able to enjoyably complete 20 hours of service and learning, while still looking for more opportunities to learn and participate with this organization. This is only the beginning of my relationship with __________. I look forward to continuing my involvement with them. I really enjoyed working on this project. It was very informative and probably the thing that I enjoyed most about the class other than when we had guest speakers. One thing that was difficult was getting a hold of the entrepreneurs, I still have not heard back from _____ even though I left messages. Because of this, I only completed 14 hours. This is an extremely beneficial project for the class. This brings me to the minority entrepreneurs that we interviewed. This was by far my most favorite part of the class. Going to places, mainly

restaurants, that I would usually not go to is always fun and exciting-- something new ­ and usually the outcome is always good. I really enjoyed the fact that after the interviews the entrepreneurs were extremely open and comfortable, unlike when first meeting them. I think they enjoyed the interview just as much as I did ­ it was almost as if they were reflecting back on how they got to where they are and a sense of self-assurance came over them. Very cool. Throughout the comments, changes in students' beliefs, attitudes and values are evident. IMPLICATIONS "SO WHAT?" This paper has reflected on a faculty members' class on diversity in entrepreneurship. The reflection includes commentary on pedagogy used to involve students and get them out of their comfort zone. This is important to faculty interested in service learning, those involved in teaching courses like diversity where textbook learning is not sufficient to change attitudes and beliefs, and those who might be looking at developing a course like this. It is also important to communities ­ to recognize ways that they can engage with faculty and students to enrich all involved. CONCLUSION Engaging students in a diversity entrepreneurship course is possible through the use of various pedagogy ­ reflecting, acting, and most importantly, doing. Both student and faculty reflections demonstrate the great benefits of community-based learning and more specifically, service-learning.

REFERENCES Astin, A. 2000. Conceptualizing service-learning research using Ken Wilber's integral framework. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, pp. 98-107. Bates, T. 1997. Race, Self-Employment & Upward Mobility: An Illusive American Dream, John Hopkins University Press. Bornstein, D. 1996. The Price of a Dream; University of Chicago Press. Bornstein, D. 2004. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas; Oxford University Press, NY. Bringle, R., & Hatcher, J. 2000. Meaningful measurement of theory-based service learning outcomes: Making the case with quantitative research. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, pp. 68-75. Ericksen, G. 1999. Women Entrepreneurs Only; John Wiley & Sons House-Soremekun, B. 2002. Confronting the Odds: African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio; Kent State University Press Howard, J., Gelmon, S., & Giles, D., 2000. From yesterday to tomorrow: Strategic directions for service-learning research. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, pp. 5-10. Light, I. & Bonacich, E. 1988. Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Koreans in Los Angeles 19651982; University of California Press. Klobuchar, J., & Cornell Wilkes, S. 2003. The Miracles of Barefoot Capitalism. Kirk House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN. Kwolek-Folland, A. 1998. Incorporating Women: A History of Women and Business in the United States; Twayne Publishers. Mooney, L. & Edwards, B. 2001. Experiential learning in society: Service learning and other community-based learning initiatives. Teaching Sociology, vol 29:181-194. Moore, D. & Buttner, E. H. 1997. Women Entrepreneurs: Moving Beyond the Glass Ceiling; Sage Publications. Radeav, V. 2002. Entrepreneurial Strategies and the Structure of Transaction Costs in Russian Business, in Bonnell & Gold (Eds) The New Entrepreneurs of Europe & Asia; M.E. Sharpe: pg. 191-213. Saxenian, A. 1999. Silicon Valley's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs; Public Policy Institute of California Servon, L.J. 1999. Bootstrap Capital: Microenterprises and the American Poor, Brookings Institute Press, Washington. DC. Simons, L., & Cleary, B. 2005. Student and community perceptions of the "value added" for service learners. Journal of Experiential Education: 28(2): 164-188. Shumer, R. 2000. Science or storytelling: How should we conduct and report servicelearning research? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, pp. 76-83. Sibley Butler, J. 1991. Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans; State University of New York Press, 1991 Simmons, M. 2003. The Student Success Manifesto: How To Create A Life Of Passion, Purpose, And Prosperity; Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Co.



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