Our universities are peculiar institutions. Although a cornerstone of Western civilization, they are somewhat offset from the rest of society with autonomy on what to research in and what to teach (Universitatum, 1988). This autonomy, however, is strained because of society’s pull to ensure that value is created for society. Political observation determines to which extent the pull is justified and should be exerted. Beyond politics, however, there is everyday life, where researchers and teachers alike simply “just want do their job” but are challenged by the pull, i.e. by that which seems to be constantly changing discourses about justification and practice. One such discourse, that has found its way into our universities, is the notion of entrepreneurship and innovation (I&E) teaching (Rasmussen, Moberg, & Revsbech, 2015).
I&E teaching at our universities has a narrow (instrumental) interpretation and a broad (empowering) interpretation. In the narrow interpretation, I&E is aimed at creating value for society through strengthening businesses in the global capitalistic markets, i.e. our universities are instrumental to the business world. In the broad interpretation, I&E is aimed at that beyond businesses: at society at large and our way of life in general. Independent of interpretation, I&E is, because of its inherent focus on value creation, a radical challenge to the traditional (mode 1: mode 22, ) perception of knowledge production and transfer at a university (mode 1: (Merton, 1942), mode 2: (Gibbons et al., 1994; Ziman, 2000) ; knowledge is no longer valuable “in itself”, it is valuable only when we can argue for its usefulness. Clearly, such a shift holds implications for academia.
In this presentation, we track the emergence of entrepreneurship and innovation teaching at Danish universities relating it to the global context. We argue, that only within the last few years have we begun to really discuss the possibility of deploying I&E teaching university wide. In other words, we are in the beginning of a what will probably be a long process of changing mindset. We also argue, that because of this longevity of the process, stress is induced into the system and teachers will find themselves, knowingly or not, in uncharted territory. We end up arguing, that I&E teaching is here to stay and that it will be much more than just a parenthesis in our curricula. Furthermore, we suggest that this is not a bad thing! In the right interpretation – it cannot be too narrow - and with changes accordingly to our perception of teaching, I&E will allow all faculties, and in particular the Social Sciences and the Humanities, to sustainably meet society’s pull.
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Rasmussen, A., Moberg, K., & Revsbech, C. (2015). Taksonomi i Entreprenørskabsuddannelse: perspektiver på mål, undervisning og evlauering: The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship.
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