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Introduction to Entrepreneurship Reimagined

Taylor Anderson, ECON 125 Teaching Assistant

Econ 125: Introduction to Entrepreneurship is a 400 seat elective course co-taught by Chan. Holden Thorp, Entrepreneur in Residence Buck Goldstein, and Dr. John Akin that extends an entrepreneurial mindset to students in all majors and all years. The classes deploys an array of new teaching techniques and builds on the strength of guest lecturers from UNC and beyond to show students the value of recognizing and capitalizing on opportunities to attack the world's biggest problems. Goldstein, Akin, and Thorp developed the class in response to overwhelming student demand for the Minor's classes in entrepreneurship. 

Taylor Anderson is one of two undergraduate TA's for Econ 125. He's a senior majoring in Peace, War, and Defense with a keen interest in all things new media. Last summer Taylor interned with Punch! Media in New York City on an NYC Innovation Fellowship from the Minor. He brings his love of tech to the class, hosting Google+ hangouts with speakers, curating social media, and wrangling in-class tech integration. We'll check in with other members of the instruction team throughout the semester. 

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This fall I have been given the opportunity to assist John Akin, Buck Goldstein and Chancellor Holden Thorp with the new ECON 125 course. Entitled Introduction to Entrepreneurship, this course offers students from all majors and years the chance to explore what it means to be an entrepreneur. Using the case method and an all-star cast of entrepreneurs as guest speakers, the course encourages critical thought and interaction from the students. With Harvard's Michael Porter giving a lesson on strategy, Julia Grumbles teaching marketing, Joe DeSimone introducing scientific entrepreneurship, and Holden Thorp covering the entrepreneurial University, students in ECON 125 will be exposed to some outstanding entrepreneurial minds. Later in the course, students will apply what they’ve learned towards a group project in which they come up with and pitch their own “Big Idea.”

The course hopes to challenge students and move them outside of their comfort zones using a variety of teaching methods focusing on technology. To support the size of the course and the technology used, the class is held in the large lecture hall in the brand new Genome Science Building. On the first day of class, 400 students watched clips from the movie, Moneyball, and were asked to identify Billy Bean’s challenges as the manager of the Oakland A’s. Students then assessed his entrepreneurial ability to solve these problems through an innovative approach. The next week, students participated in a Google+ Hangout On-Air with guest speaker and seasoned entrepreneur Jud Bowman. Innovative approaches like these help give personality to such a large class.

I’m fortunate to be a part of the inaugural ECON 125 course, and I look forward to hearing all the great ideas students generate.