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Texas Universities Offering Self-Employment Education

The continuing difficulties in the job market are causing more people who have lost work and can't find new opportunities to create opportunity for themselves. In Texas a number of universities are responding with coursework that will provide learning support for self-employment efforts.

"Our approach to studying entrepreneurship allows students to experiment and learn from trying something," said Dr. Susanna Khavul, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Arlington. "Students work in teams on a feasibility study or plan for an existing business," she said. "That gives them the opportunity to look at expanding a business, starting something new or trying something entrepreneurial at the companies where they work."

The result is an entrepreneurship degree based on the practicalities of today's small business environment. "I teach graduate students who are anywhere from age 20 to 65," she said. "On the first day of class, I ask them if they have ever met an entrepreneur. Historically, only about 10 percent of the class will say yes. Then I ask them if they have any friends who own their own business, or if they use a drycleaner��They begin to be aware that there is a lot of entrepreneurship around them, particularly in this area."

A similar program at Baylor puts students in a situation to look critically at business models at all levels in order to teach the concepts underlying enterprise development. "Entrepreneurship majors have a core course sequence that helps them conceptualize, design and implement whatever business they want to follow," said Dr. Kendall Artz, director of the university's entrepreneurship program.

"This program is different from the regular business degree," he said. "We have a tremendous breadth and depth of courses, including a specialization in family business management and concentrations in social, corporate and technology entrepreneurship.

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