The Driehaus College of Business has always been entrepreneurial, in both what it teaches and how it approaches business education. Our college is recognized among the nation’s best for entrepreneurship study by the Princeton Review, which ranks both our undergraduate and graduate programs in the top 25. We earn these rankings because our faculty teaches students to apply theory to practice, providing practical tools and connections for students to turn classroom lessons into real- world business opportunities.
This fall our entrepreneurship faculty became even stronger with the appointment of Maija Renko as Coleman Foundation Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. Maija—who is profiled by Business Exchange—is an award-winning teacher and researcher who specializes in social entrepreneurship, an area of growing interest among our students.
I also have named Professor Lisa Gundry interim chair of the Department of Management & Entrepreneurship, which oversees our entrepreneur curriculum. A member of our faculty for 30 years, Lisa is an expert in business innovation, and she most recently served as faculty director of our Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program. Our programs also are expanding—DePaul will soon offer a new minor in entrepreneurship for non-business majors.
Our academic programs in entrepreneurship are supported by the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, which recently launched an innovative “start-up” of its own—the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI). Supported by an impressive committee of Chicago women business owners, WEI is developing the most comprehensive array of academic, research, incubation and public policy programs in the country to support women entrepreneurs. In this issue’s cover story, you’ll learn how WEI’s new accelerator program is helping women business founders, including our students and alumni, overcome barriers to develop new ventures.
Our college is doing more than teaching the entrepreneurial mindset—we also are applying it to our planning for the future. Innovating our academic programs and centers is at the heart of our college’s new 2024 Strategic Plan: Connection, Culture and Commitment. Innovation is necessary for us to create value for students and alumni and to sustain DePaul’s mission in a challenging higher education landscape.
Our strategic plan calls for us to review and redesign our MBA program, expand our career management services, and develop online programs in select areas to ensure our graduate programs are relevant and competitive. We also plan to revise our under- graduate business degree and enhance career preparedness services and experiential learning opportunities for students. Our goal is to empower students with the analytical skills and career savvy they need to succeed in today’s increasingly complex marketplace.
Strengthening the college’s connections to our alumni network and the Chicago business community is imperative for reaching these goals. We want to engage more alumni as guest lecturers and mentors for our students. We also want to expand alumni and business community support for our centers and institutes, which create value for both our students and the business community through programs that produce career-ready graduates, industry- relevant research and business networking opportunities. I encourage you to review our full strategic plan at go.depaul.edu/Driehaus2024Plan.
I look forward to working together with you to begin reaching our plan’s goals. With your support, we can elevate our college’s profile as a top business school of choice for people living and working in the Chicago area.