November 18, 2010

University Awards Entrepreneur Grants

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The University recently awarded the Louis H. Zalaznick Faculty Support Grant –– offered to several faculty each year affiliated with Entrepreneurship@Cornell –– to 15 professors to “extend their capacity to work with students,” according to a University statement.“The purpose is to provide faculty with additional financial resources to enrich whatever course they are teaching,” said John Jaquette, executive director of Entrepreneurship@ Cornell. “It could be to provide the funds to hire teaching assistants, or to have some cool alumni be part of the class … [or for] research to use in a future class.”        The program was established in 1993 through a donation made by David Zalaznick ’76 and Barbara Zalaznick ’76, and is named in honor of Mr. Zalaznick’s father, Louis.“It was a sense that understanding about the entrepreneurial process is an asset for preparation for any future career. The model at Cornell is that understanding entrepreneurial thinking is a resource for any student to learn,” Jaquette said. “Any student is going to be the sole proprietor of their own career …. David Zalaznick understood that this would be a competitive advantage.”The grants vary in size from $1,000 to $3,000 and most of the professors who won are using it to hire new teaching assistants.“[The grant] was a way to fund a research assistant to provide better teaching,” said Prof. Jan Katz, organizational management, communication, and law, who is one of the winners of the grant. “The undergrads at the Hotel School are more familiar with advanced uses of Excel and PowerPoint relative to many faculty members and I had a vision to use many of those techniques … I needed [someone with] technical expertise,” she added.Prof. Susan Cabrera, finance, accounting, and real estate, also used the grant to hire teaching assistants for two of her classes.“I’m a new visiting lecturer with the hotel school.” Cabrera said. “As a new faculty member I’m actually offering two new classes that have never been offered at the Hotel School. It really helps to have teaching assistant to delve into creating the classes and making them more interactive.”Cabrera also plans to use grant money to bring in alumni as guest speakers.“I really want to keep increasing the level of alumni that come in … The Zalanick funds give me some leeway to do that,” she said.John Callister, a senior lecturer and the director of Entrepreneurship in Engineering, plans to use the grant for his entrepreneurship for engineers course.“The reason a teaching assistant is valuable is we a have business plan [in class] and the teaching assistant helps evaluate the business plan,” he said. “It’s just very useful to have another person on board to evaluate these plans.”Prof. Dan Cohen, human resource studies, will make similar use of the grant money.“I applied [for the grant] because I needed some help. I teach two courses that have an entrepreneurial aspect. I work with about 70 students,” Cohen said. “Having something as prestigious as the Zalaznick fellowship allowed me to find some teaching assistants of really good class.”“It’s really helpful to having high quality classes,” he added.The number of grants awarded varies every year.“The Zalaznick endowment produces a certain amount of revenue each year and it has to do with the number of requests each year,” Jaquette said.

Original Author: Joseph Niczky