Option combines business, start-up courses with humanities
This year, the University of Ottawa will be offering a new interdisciplinary program for students in the faculties of arts and business. Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Social Innovation is an 18-credit program that combines three existing business courses from the Telfer School of Management with three new Arts, Humanities, and Literature (AHL) courses.
According to Sylvie Lamoreux, Vice-Dean of Programs in the Faculty of Arts, many students in both faculties are looking for new ways to apply their passion for various subject matters.
“We’ve seen a lot of interest in our students, but also in our faculty, around issues of entrepreneurialism, questions of where creativity fits into that, and also questions of social innovation,” said Lamoreux.
Currently, the program is only offered to arts and business students, but Lamoreux is hoping that there will be enough interest to eventually open the option to other faculties.
She explained that she met an engineering student this past fall who said, “I want to meet arts students, where’s the best place? I need to meet arts students because I want to develop games but I need to know about myths, or meet a visual artist. How do I meet these people?”
The program is designed to cultivate team-building, look at different methods of inquiry, and explore entrepreneurship with creativity and reflexive thinking. Courses will include workshops, guest speakers, and will culminate in a 4000-level “innovation lab” where students will be able to conceptualize and develop a project that could turn into a start-up.
Lamoureux described reflexive thinking as “the ability to identify not just knowledge but skills you have.” This is important, she said, because when students enter the workforce they will need to demonstrate their skills to an employer, not just their knowledge.
“I can teach you knowledge, what’s sometimes harder to teach you are competencies and the ability to recognize that you can apply them,” Lamoureux said.
The program also aims to develop the leadership necessary for promoting the application of a new idea. “Change does not come from inertia” she said. A course on creativity can help to stimulate an understanding of how to develop the leadership to carry it out.
Lamoureux is enthusiastic about the benefits that this new program will offer to students. “We live in a trans-disciplinary world. It is exciting to have this space where we are more than the sum of our parts. There are beautiful collaborations happening everywhere, with business, with engineering, with arts, with social studies.”
The opportunity to engage intellectually across disciplines is an exciting new form of education, especially with the added component of preparing to do so with an entrepreneurial, start-up spirit, she said.
“When the students come here we want to make sure that we provide them with the tools that they need to make what they can imagine possible,” Lamoureux said. “Or at least identify the avenues they can go to further that sense of possibility.”
Additional information about the program can be found on the U of O’s Faculty of Arts website.