BOT Notebook: Entrepreneurship program morphed into its own department



Central Michigan University's Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to turn the entrepreneurship program into its own department.

Debra Zellner, executive eirector of CMU’s New Venture project, boasted the organization’s accomplishments and the justification for the new department.

“A lot of the companies that start up because of our program are still running,” she said. “Our program is not limited to only entrepreneurship students. We are looking all across the university for students.”

The program has started more than 108 independent companies, Zellner said.

Ross said the university is happy to support future business leaders and innovators and sees the department as a way to continue that goal.

“If you talk to employers, they are looking for those types of skill sets,” he said. “(The employers) are looking for people who think outside the box and have basic business skills. It is beyond being creative you have to be business savvy.”

Board Chair William Kanine called the move a wonderful fit.

“It is a tremendous opportunity for those students,” Kanine said. “We want benefit thinkers.”

Chemistry department to receive name change

Trustees voted to officially change the nomenclature of the Department of Chemistry by adding "Biochemistry" to the end of the name.

“This change really mirrors what that department truly does,” said Provost Michael Gealt. “It is an appropriate change. This will help us bring more students to this department.”

Changing the name of department was addressed during a meeting a facilities update from Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management.

University President George Ross said the name change makes sense for the university.

“I think (changing the name) is practical, given the nature of that department,” Ross said.

CMURC partnership renewed by trustees

Trustees also voted to renew the partnership with the Central Michigan University Research Corporation, and approve the appointment of a CMURC’s newest board member.

Kenneth J. Sanney, assistant professor in the Finance and Law department, will serve on the board of CMURC until May 2017.

Sanney was a leading entertainment and copyright attorney and as previously held an appointment as an adjunct professor of business and law at other universities.

“We sit in a smart zone for the state,” Ross said. “Our results are very competitive. We are very proud of the work they are doing over there.”

Erin O'Brien, president and CEO of CMURC, said she believes Sanney will be a good fit as the corporation continues its work.

“We work really hard on scalable, repeatable programs,” she said while addressing the board. “We will strive to pick up where we left off and continue to create real-world experience for individuals.”


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