The University of Pennsylvania has decided that the only thing the world needs more than educational profiteers looking to make a buck in the ed biz is educational profiteers with a Masters degree.
At EdTech Times, Michelle Harven reports, "Education and entrepreneurship is the modern match, and the evidence of a new thriving industry is pilling up." I think she meant "piling," though when I read about this sort of thing, I absolutely want to take a pill. Either the red one of the blue one will do.
Yes, UPenn will become "the first graduate school of education to offer a master’s degree in Education Entrepreneurship (M.S.Ed)." This looks like a bit of weasel-wording. Rice and Harvard both have programs of a similar nature, but which do not result in exactly this degree. John Hopkins may be working on something similar, and there may be some online programs as well. So UPenn may just be the first to the marketplace with this exact wording and degree that allows them to make an attention-getting marketing claim (and hey-- isn't that what good entrepreneurs do?)
And just in case you're wondering whether this program will be more heavily weighted toward education or entrepreneuring, here comes Barbara Kurshan, the Executive Director of Academic Innovation. And, yes, that title is your first clue.
"the education and entrepreneurial combination makes sense since the
growth of edtech has ignited a whole new audience that want to create
schools and build educational businesses."
Kurshan said many of these people need a foundation in education in
order to gain insight into the industry. “We believe entrepreneurs need
to understand education and need to understand the academic side of this
research to be able to implement, design, create new products, and
start a business,” said Kurshan.
Yes,indeedy, knowing a little something about schools and educationy stuff might help you get that little extra edge in making a buck in the ed biz. You can find even more soul-crushing business-speak on UPenn's website for the program:
This interdisciplinary Ivy League program provides students with the
unique skills and experience necessary to conceptualize, develop, and
manage effective 21st-century innovations in education. Designed at the
intersection of education, business, and entrepreneurship, the program
combines Penn’s rigorous academic study with practical coursework –
giving you the tools necessary to chart entrepreneurial solutions in
education, including creating new schools or other education ventures in
the for-profit or non-profit sectors.
But don't worry. The program covers three domains: Foundations of Education, Business Essentials, and Entrepreneurial Management of Knowledge. See? Education does come up. Here's what future edu-businesspersons will learn about education:
In this domain, students study current education systems and policies,
as well as the history of how these systems and policies evolved.
Students also learn about the history, theory and application of various
pedagogies and modes of school organization, as well as how they affect
and are affected by government policy and public pressures. Students
also study the changing landscape of delivery systems in urban public
This is actually less exciting that the Entrepreneurial Management of Knowledge domain. In this domain, we'll learn "about how entrepreneurs can influence the creation, advancement and successful exploitation of knowledge." A grasp of all three domains will prep budding corporate tools to create "new social impact ventures."
It's a two-year program aimed at people who are currently working, with non-traditional scheduling, 10 CUs, plus a capstone project and practicum. But "graduates of the program leave
not only with a more robust entrepreneurial mindset, but also with
concrete skills that will prepare you to undertake new ventures in your
chosen area of interest including creating new schools or other
education ventures." So you know it's totally worth the time and effort. I mean, who doesn't want a more robust entrepreneurial mindset?
And this isn't just a chance to make American education a little bit worse, but promises potential for exporting our lousiest educational ideas overseas as well. Back to Harven's reporting here:
Many of the applicants Kurshan sees are international students who are
interested in creating schools in their own country. These students want
to learn school design and creation in order to run a charter or
international school. Kurshan mentions one applicant who would like to
use this degree in order to create a program like Teach for America in
One other interesting detail. I looked through the UPenn's site, and nowhere did I find a word about educating students or about how these Social Impact Projects would interface with the actual carbon-based life form units who would potentially be impacted by the project. Apparently when you are learning how to make big bucks by starting a school, the last thing you need to worry about is how, what or why you are actually going to teach those children.