On the one hand, students and future employers expect these institutions of learning to take employability into consideration when developing both curricular and extra-curricular activity. On the other, government at local and national levels regard universities as important drivers in local economic development by feeding the pipeline of innovative new start-up businesses.
If universities are to meet these demands, the very core of each establishment will need to embrace enterprise and entrepreneurship in ways not seen before, believes Professor Mason.
Creating Entrepreneurial Campuses builds directly on the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship guidance publication produced by QAA in 2012. It makes the case for campuses which stimulate the entrepreneurial aspirations of students and provides them with the opportunity to develop relevant skills, knowledge and experience. In some cases that also means offering relevant support and resources to enable them to start their own business.
The notion that entrepreneurship can be taught is now widely accepted, but what is taught, how it is taught, who is taught and who teaches is less clear.
Professor Masons report explores how both curricular and extra-curricular programmes will be required to give students a more experiential style of learning, drawing from case studies provided by the Universities of St Andrews and the Highlands and Islands.
Focusing entrepreneurship teaching in a business school is unlikely to create the kind of campus envisioned by the QAA guidelines; entrepreneurship education needs to be embedded in each academic department, faculty or school.
Professor Mason states that “an entrepreneurial campus will not only teach entrepreneurship across the campus but will also create an environment in which students are inspired and empowered to develop enterprising capabilities, skills and know-how.
“Whatever their subject, students will take part in entrepreneurship clubs, boot camps, business plan competitions, entrepreneurs-in-residence and start-up support, such as incubator space, funding, mentoring.