The University of California, Irvine (UCI) continues its tradition of pioneering educational advancements with the introduction of the UCI Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) Entrepreneurial Faculty Advisor Program. Created in collaboration with the ANTrepreneur Center, this program is strategically designed to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem at UCI, employing faculty expertise to nurture a robust culture of creativity and entrepreneurship among undergraduate students.

This initiative represents UCI’s commitment to blending academic rigor with real-world business experience, providing students with opportunities to translate theoretical knowledge into practical, entrepreneurial endeavors.

Program Goals and Structure

The initiative will engage ten senate faculty members who are enthusiastic about educational innovation. These advisors will play a crucial role in making entrepreneurship resources more accessible, thereby enriching the student experience and fostering a campus-wide ethos of innovative thinking.

Ryan Foland, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center, comments on the significance of faculty involvement:

“We know that students value what their professors say, and when more professors are talking about innovation and entrepreneurship, it creates more interest in students seeking out resources to help them spark or continue ideas. This program assists entrepreneurial-minded professors in supporting their students and helping them know where to go and what resources are available.”

Faculty Commitment and Benefits

Faculty advisors will commit approximately 5-10 service hours each quarter. Their activities will include:

  • Annual Workshops: Beginning with a workshop in the Fall quarter.
  • Webinars: Including an introductory webinar on undergraduate entrepreneurship with the ANTrepreneur Center Director and a session led by Professor Larry Wilk on integrating entrepreneurial concepts into coursework.
  • Quarterly Meetings: Participation in the ANTrepreneur Center’s leadership/advisory board meetings to stay updated on program developments.
  • Curriculum Integration: Incorporating ANTrepreneur Center resources into Canvas course modules.
  • Event Support: Assisting with various Center initiatives such as innovation challenges and special events.

Senate faculty will receive research/travel account allocations as a token of appreciation for their commitment. They also have the opportunity to mentor UCI Campuswide Honors Collegium students who are completing capstone projects in entrepreneurship. Non-senate faculty can still apply and be nominated, and will be considered on an exception basis.

Michael Dennin, Dean of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at UCI, highlights the strategic alignment of the program: 

“The Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation is well suited to support faculty in how to best incorporate innovation into the classroom. This supports our university vision of bringing innovation into the classroomfrom helping research students thinking about commercialization, all the way to helping art students learn about building their own business.”

Expanding Opportunities for Honors Students

The program also aims to directly benefit honors students who are showing increasing interest in entrepreneurship. “We see more of our honors students considering innovation and entrepreneurship when developing their honors projects,” explains  Brandon Golob, Associate Dean of the Campuswide Honors Collegium. “This new program is a great way to accommodate that increase in demand.”

Quan Nguyen, a partner at Nguyen Tarbet IP Law and member of the ANTrepreneur Center Executive Committee, emphasizes the program’s broader impact: “As an alumnus of the Campuswide Honors Collegium and member of the ANTrepreneur Center’s leadership board, I see this program as a step in inspiring more honors students to consider innovation and entrepreneurship as a viable path.”

Call to Action for Interested Faculty and Students who Want to Nominate their Professors

UCI faculty who are passionate about entrepreneurship and education are encouraged to apply to join this innovative program. This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of entrepreneurship at UCI and directly impact students’ entrepreneurial journeys. Students, faculty, and staff are also able to nominate faculty members who they think might be interested in the opportunity. 

Interested faculty and those who want to nominate faculty are encouraged to learn more and fill out the DTEI Entrepreneurial Faculty Advisor Program application.