Entrepreneurship, program evaluation, entrepreneurship centers, connoisseurship evaluation model


Studies have attempted to explain the linkage between achieving success in the field of entrepreneurship and the pedagogy instituted to teach the skills entrepreneurs need to achieve success in their chosen endeavors. It is widely known and well documented that people have experienced entrepreneurial success with limited, and sometimes no formal entrepreneurial training. The ever present question of “can entrepreneurship be taught” has been debated from many varying perspectives. The late Peter Drucker pragmatically once said “The entrepreneur mystique? It’s not magic, it’s not mysterious, and it has nothing to do with the genes. It’s a discipline. And, like any discipline, it can be learned” (Drucker, 1985). A study conducted by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity recently determined that almost half of Americans with college degrees are overqualified for their jobs. Many studies have also concluded that college graduates accumulate greater lifetime earnings than non-college graduates. Yet the escalating costs of attending college and the diminishing prospects of job security after attaining a college degree have brought the cost of education to the precipice of a potential “education bubble”. Student loan debt exceeds One Trillion Dollars and the typical student loan needs to be repaid over ten years at nearly seven percent interest. Similar to the recently experienced “housing bubble” there is a genuine concern, as it relates to education, that today’s populace is paying too much for something that yields limited value. Therefore, the question of “can entrepreneurship be taught” should be supplanted with “can entrepreneurship be learned?” “Are graduates capable of applying their academic training to produce tangible results?” If there are too many academic degrees being generated that are unable to be absorbed into a stagnant job market, it would stand to reason that a college degree, from a business school iv or any co-curricular discipline, without significant concentration in the study of entrepreneurship, serves only a limited purpose in a growing, capitalistic society that is predicated on job growth. Centers for entrepreneurship provide an excellent foundation for invigorating new college graduates from multiple academic disciplines with the motivation and desire to achieve success in business as entrepreneurs. This comparative analysis of two thriving and vibrant Centers for Entrepreneurship at major universities in the growing central Florida region examines their best practices and compares them to current national guidelines established by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a 200 + member organization domiciled in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana that serves as the key junction for university-based entrepreneurship centers across the United States to collaborate, communicate and jointly advance excellence in entrepreneurship ( The evaluator and author of this dissertation implemented procedures similar to those used in accreditation reviews and applied professional judgment techniques to design a connoisseurship evaluation of entrepreneurship centers at two major universities --- The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL and The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. We have all heard the Horatio Alger “rags to riches” stories of entrepreneurs who “bootstrapped” their business ideas without benefit of any formal business or entrepreneurial education. But it is just as great a likelihood in the coming years that we will admire those who give the credit for their success to the concepts they mastered in an entrepreneurial studies program and how their alma maters provided mentors through their centers for entrepreneurship who saved them from committing an abundance of mistakes by trial and error as they transported v their business ideas from conceptualization to realization. This research will assist centers of entrepreneurship as they strive to incorporate standards of excellence to benefit students who endeavor to become business and job creators in the future.


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Graduation Date





Boote, David


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Dean's Office, Education

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Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

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Dissertation in Practice (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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