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Excellence and Expertise Research and Innovation

$50k grant to enhance FYIC classwork on character virtues and ethical thinking

A new grant will help evaluate and improve how character virtues and ethical thinking is taught through ESP103, Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Thinking.

FYIC students in class
Excellence and Expertise Research and Innovation

$50k grant to enhance FYIC classwork on character virtues and ethical thinking

The John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship announced that it has been awarded $50,000 from the Educating Character Initiative (ECI) at The Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. Made possible by the Lilly Endowment Inc., this grant funding will allow First-Year Integrated Core faculty to evaluate and improve how to teach character virtues and ethical thinking through ESP 103: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Thinking

ESP 103 is a required course for approximately 1,400 business majors at Miami University each academic year and has engaged 10,000 business students since its 2016 launch. During the course students learn to cultivate the virtues of character that align with the entrepreneurial mindset: curiosity, empathy, courage, resilience, and collaboration. Students learn how to apply these virtues and creative mindsets towards solving complex business problems through human-centered design and creative problem-solving techniques, which culminates in a team consulting project for a real client.

"Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial mindset are guiding forces in the increasingly dynamic and ever-changing environment of the 21st century. Why? Because creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial mindset equip society to flourish in environments that require courage, tenacity, and passion, always ready to pivot and respond to emerging challenges, dynamic change, and opportunities. For the last eight years, we have required all first-year business students to take ESP 103 with the goal of empowering the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders to better serve humanity," Tim Holcomb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Director of the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship, said. "We believe in the transformative power of learning by doing. Our goal is to unleash students’ entrepreneurial mindsets, ignite their imaginations about what is possible, and motivate them to innovate, create value, and elevate their impact on society. The ECI capacity building grant will allow us to explore best practices in character education for the ESP 103 course and develop evaluative measures for course outcomes." 

The Educating Character Initiative aims to equip a wide range of public and private institutions of higher education with the resources, funding, and support needed to integrate character education into their distinctive institutional contexts, curricula, and cultures. Since its creation in 2017, the broader aspiration has been to foster a robust network that recognizes the value of educating character within higher education.

The Farmer School seeks to help students explore their potential and develop the qualities and skills necessary to become confident, ethical leaders in a pluralistic, challenging world.

Dean Jenny Darroch, Farmer School Dean and Mitchell P. Rales Chair in Business Leadership, remarked, “One of our core beliefs is that if you do the right things, results will follow.” Darroch has set forth the aspiration to graduate beyond ready leaders who can add value to any organization from day one, and a vision “to be the nation’s top public undergraduate business school.”  

"This proposal aligns closely with our university’s mission and the world’s need for a new generation of character-driven leaders for a digital age. From the challenge in our university motto – Prodesse Quam Conspici: to accomplish without being conspicuous – to our mission statement’s desire to graduate “engaged citizens who use their knowledge and skills with integrity and compassion to improve the future of our global society,” the ideal of graduating character-driven leaders has long been a Miami University hallmark," Miami University President Gregory Crawford said. "As the digital world presents our current and future leaders with both unprecedented opportunities and complexities, Miami draws from its liberal arts tradition to instill our students with timeless values and skills. Our graduates must be prepared with the technical skills to embrace technology but also the adaptability demanded by an uncertain world and the character to do what is right. Miami's Department of Entrepreneurship is a point of pride for its effectiveness at instilling our students with the creative virtues of curiosity, empathy, courage, and resilience. As the world continues to change, so must the preparation we provide our students. This proposed capacity building grant would position Miami to lead as business schools explore how to interweave character development into business education for a digital age. I am excited not only for the impact on our business students but also the long-term possibilities for sharing this work both across our university and at other business schools nationally."