One of the critical components of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program that we are very proud of is that our curriculum features many projects with real world implications. We have the CSUF Consulting program where students work in groups to help develop comprehensive strategy reports for existing businesses and startups. We also have a pair of classes where students develop business plans for a concept of their own and then, in the next semester, actively work to launch that business.
In academic literature, these kinds of projects are called High Impact Practices (HIPs) and they benefit students in many ways. According to a study by the Association of American Colleges & Universities they found that HIPs encourage student engagement and increase graduation rates, especially among underrepresented students, among other positive results.
Cal State Fullerton is conducting its own study on HIPs and is documenting the impact that it is having on our students. This study includes more than 300 courses that prominently feature HIPs. One of these classes is Professor John Bradley Jackson’s Management 465A and early results from the CSUF study show that the students in this class are the most engaged students in the sample. This is the class that has students form teams to develop a business plan for a concept of their own making.
“Our project was exciting.,” said Chad Armstrong ’17, who was one of the students to take this course. “During the semester, I could see and believe that this could become a real product. This gave me energy. I liked the people on my team, all of them, even though we disagreed and disappointed each other at times. The project was stressful and at times we didn’t like each other but this is normal in any healthy relationship. Developing a respect for each other’s abilities and strengths early in the project helps get me through the stressful times later in the project. You can’t learn that from a book.“
“As a student becomes more engaged, they do projects, they do breakout groups, they think about the topic; that increased engagement increases learning, [and] retention,” says Professor Jackson.
HIPs are an important part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program. We believe that the intensive projects that we have our students do makes a profound difference on our students’ education; a difference, like Chad says, that “you can’t learn from a book.”
We welcome every student that is ready to take on the challenge of an entrepreneurial education at Cal State Fullerton. For more information on how to become an Entrepreneurship student please go to this page.
And this kind of educational experience would not be possible without our clients from the CSUF Consulting program and the CSUF Startup Incubator, as well as our hundreds of mentors who work with our student groups every semester to enrich students’ education and understanding of business and entrepreneurship. For more information on how to become a client or mentor in our program please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zach Barajas contributed to this article