University of Turku
|Lead:||Kirsi Peura, Entrepreneurship Programme Manager, Development Services, University of Turku|
Using EntreComp to create a common understanding of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial paths across faculties from STEM to arts and humanities
The University of Turku (UTU) is a multi-disciplinary university with seven faculties and 25,000 students and faculty members. The university has developed a ‘Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship Education’ that incorporates goals for enhancing entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviour and culture across the entire university and its activities. A key aim is to ensure the availability of entrepreneurship education for all degree students and to increase both the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship education, particularly in non-business disciplines.
To achieve this, UTU has developed an ‘Entrepreneurial Path’ that encompasses education, training and support services which are available for all students and faculty members. In a multi-disciplinary university such as UTU, however, there are many different interpretations of entrepreneurship and the goals of entrepreneurship education. In sciences, it is most commonly understood as encouraging students to start up their own company. In the humanities and educational sciences faculties, entrepreneurship education is understood to relate to graduate employability and working-life skills. To address this issue, the Entrepreneurial Path is being created with faculty-specific features. These are underpinned by a common framework that enables different issues to be explored while ensuring an overall coherent approach to entrepreneurship education at university level. EntreComp helps in defining a common language for these varied stakeholder audiences.
Layers of interpretation of what entrepreneurship competences mean
UTU’s Entrepreneurship Programme Manager regularly interacts with faculty leaders and educators from different fields, supporting them to create and promote different opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences. This group is very heterogeneous with regards to their theoretical and practical understandings of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. Although some might have prior knowledge and experience of entrepreneurship, many lack conceptual tools to explore this area at a deeper level. Overall, the topic of entrepreneurship education is seen as either hazy (too generic to grasp) and value-laden (questions of commercialism, or social and cultural impact). Adaptation of the broad definition of entrepreneurship at UTU also creates another layer of interpretation.
By using the EntreComp framework, the lack of clarity among educators and faculty leaders is being addressed. EntreComp has been tested in workshops targeted at educators and found to work well with novices. An easily understood framework allows them to discuss the different components of entrepreneurial competences and integrate them into their personal and business development depending on the emphasis chosen at the faculty. The framework can be used as a base for mapping the development of entrepreneurial competences in different educational programmes to identify whether existing or new educational components or other interventions are needed. Furthermore, it allows educators to make the development of entrepreneurial competences explicit both for themselves and their students.
In the long term, it is important to engage more educators in the development of the University Entrepreneurial Path. That’s why it is important to use approaches that are easily understood and connect with educators who have a nascent interest in entrepreneurship education. UTU recognise that a critical mass of educators is needed. Further opportunities to integrate are being explored to integrate EntreComp into existing voluntary training in entrepreneurial pedagogies. This is a new programme that has been created to provide educators with the tools and models to embed entrepreneurship into other teaching subjects.