Saturday, 11 June 2016

An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Until a couple of weeks ago, my perception of entrepreneurship was somewhat limited. In my mind, entrepreneurship is innovation related to creating and adapting businesses, providing value in the form of goods and services. Entrepreneurs tend to be creative problem solvers who are driven and who recognize opportunities. They don’t always succeed the first time, but they learn, adapt, and persist as they pursue their goals. What I had not previously considered is how this mindset might contribute to success outside of a business model, in the context of studies, work, and life.  

At the recent NISOD conference I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Bree Langemo, President of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) and Rebecca Corbin, President & CEO of National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) entitled An Entrepreneurial Mindset: Advancing Student Success in the Classroom and onCampusThe presenters compared the skills and characteristics of entrepreneurs with  21st century skills essential to success in the workplace. Some of these aptitudes include problem-solving, creativity, curiosity, persistence, adaptability, and awareness. In our own consultation with employers, there is consistent expression that these aptitudes are expected as graduates enter the workplace.
The experience that ELI has had in cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset has not only prepared students for the workplace, but has increased student achievement by instilling confidence, efficacy, and determination by providing tools for problem solving to overcome challenges (Schoeniger & Langemo, 2016). I am particularly inspired by the potential of empowering students to not only reach for their goals, but to actively pursue them with confidence and determination.

In further researching an entrepreneurial mindset, I came across the term motivated tactician. This term resonates with me as it implies action and describes an engaged thinker who considers strategies and takes action based on goals, motives, and needs (Haynie, Shepard, Mosakowski, & Early, 2010). Of course this applies to the context of business, but in a broader sense applies to the context of life. 

In the business context of entrepreneurship, we have all benefited from the value that various entrepreneurs have provided through goods and services. Entrepreneurship has been around me, however I haven't always considered it as a part of me. As I now reflect on the entrepreneurial mindset as a way of discovering opportunities with curiosity and determination, while connecting with others, it is clearly a means to contribute value to life and the lives around us. I am  inspired to further explore the entrepreneurial mindset and it’s potential to contribute to student success within college and beyond. Afterall, it's not just about's about life.

Haynie, J. M., Shepherd, D., Mosakowski, E., & Earley, P. C. (2010). A situated metacognitive model of the entrepreneurial mindset. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(2), 217–229. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2008.10.001
Schoeniger, G, Langemo, B.(2016, May), An entrepreneurial mindset for student success. The NISOD Papers, 3, 1-4.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Passion, Pride and Performance

This past week was a busy one.  Monday was my first real day back to work, my son’s first day of grade eleven and my first day of LRNT503 – Program Planning.  I changed hats numerous times each day, between faculty, student, and mom.  I recognize that this will be the new norm.  Although it will be challenging at times, I know that I will manage, because these are all roles that I am passionate about.  It’s also important to remember the other hats that we wear and, as per the wise advice that Lori-Anne gave in a casual conversation “Don't forget being a mom and friend and all that stuff.” That other stuff to me includes daughter, sister, aunt, as well as making time for self-care.  I did manage to connect with friends and family this week, whether by phone or in person. 

As I reflect on the readings about program planning, and as I switch between hats, I am finding relationships not only with program planning situations within our college but also with how some of the concepts apply to scenarios beyond program planning, such as leadership, reaching personal and organizational goals, and even our own students’ success. 

In “Planning Programs for Adult Learners,” Caffarella (2010) cites Kouzes and Posner (2007), stating that part of a program planner’s job is to “create an environment where people are passionate about what they’re doing and take pride in what they’re doing.  The end result will always be performance” (p. 126).  She goes on to emphasize that planners need to enlist others to support them.  My thoughts when I first read this paragraph about passion, pride, and performance went immediately to the first year students that started in the Apparel Technology program a few days ago.  In our course introduction forum, many of the new students expressed a passion for costumes, fashion, art, etc.  They are energetic and excited to be starting the program. Ultimately, we want students to take pride in their work and, and as with program planning, this combination of passion and pride, should lead to performance.  I also see the importance of enlisting support and see myself and other faculty and staff as having a key role in that, for students.  If we can support students and help them engage them with the learning, they will hopefully maintain their passion and excitement and be motivated to perform successfully. 

With my own learning, I recognize that I need to be mindful of the process.  It is easy to get caught up in the task lists and focus on checking things off.  Particularly when the fatigue sets in, it is easy to lose sight of the passion and excitement.  Sometimes it is worth slowing the pace just a little and taking a step back to really enjoy the process.  I am grateful for the support that I have as a student:  fellow classmates, instructors, friends, family, and work colleagues.  Passion, pride and performance may just become a mantra as I begin this academic year as an instructor, student and mom. 

Reference :
Caffarella, R. S. & Daffron, S. R. (2013). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical
guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

My response to Sarah’s blog:  I THINK I MIGHT LEARN TO LIKE YOU, RESEARCH!

Sarah's original post: 

At the time that you wrote this post, I don’t think I was quite ready to make the same statement, but I am getting there.  I actually really enjoyed working on the article critique, which led me to reading a lot of different material as I was looking for specific information or trying to cross-reference a concept.  I didn’t end up using most of what I read, but I enjoyed the research process.  The idea of a project the magnitude of a research paper or thesis still seems a little daunting, but I am already much more comfortable with smaller projects than I was 6 weeks ago. 

Thank you for reminding me of the “whose shoulders are you standing on?” analogy and for sharing your incredible graphic renditions!

My response to Jody’s blog:  More on Reading

Jody's original post:

I enjoyed reading your post about how reading has changed for you.  It’s true that a mere 5 ½ weeks ago I too found the readings somewhat intimidating and although some of the articles that I have recently come across are challenging to read, I am much more comfortable and am reading much more in terms of volume. I have found that both the reading and writing that we have done have contributed to an increase in my comfort level when writing, too.  I think that the reading required for our last article critique has had a particular impact on my learning to read deeper. I could see a transition from focusing on the meaning of words to the meaning of each paragraph and the article as a whole.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on reading!

My response to Mark’s blog:  My Role as An Educator in the Digital Age 
Mark's original post:

You make some very good points here, Mark.  I agree that many teachers feel the challenge of keeping up with the skills to support students in learning technologies, and the question of willingness is a good one.Some teachers feel so taxed with demands already and are intimidated by the idea of having to do more, which is a common perception when we are faced with doing things differently. We were exposed to these perceptions in some of the conversations with some of the MAELM students during residency. There are many teachers that are resistant to technology for one reason or another.  Maybe as advocates of learning and technology we can inspire others to make the move, one manageable step at a time. 


P.S. the visuals in your blog are great!
Open Minded and Skeptical Curious

I am not comfortable with the word skeptical.  I came across it recently as I was reading articles about critical thinking, in preparation for writing my article critique for LRNT502. I am not a skeptical person. In fact, I consider myself to be optimistic and trusting.  If someone tells me something is true, I generally give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not gullible, but I generally believe people have the best of intentions.

In Becoming a Critical Thinker, Robert Todd (2004) states that “The most distinctive features of the critical thinker’s attitude are open-mindedness and skepticism” (p. 4).  He points out that these can be considered opposite to one another. “Sometimes what looks like open-mindedness is simply gullibility and what looks like skepticism is really closed-mindedness” (Todd, 2004, p.4).

I do consider myself to be pretty open-minded (not gullible), so I can live with being an open-minded critical thinker, but not an open-minded skeptical thinker. This actually had me feeling somewhat concerned as I embarked on the article critique, thinking I had to approach it through a skeptical lens. Of course this wasn’t the only reading that I did on critical thinking, and I was able to find many other articles and tips that resonated better with me.  Words such as evaluate, reflect, analyze, assess and particularly CURIOSITY are words the rest well with me. 

As I approached the article critique through a lens of curiosity, I was pleasantly surprised that I did not find it as difficult to evaluate as I had anticipated. As I read through the article (again), I captured the essence of each paragraph in the margins.  Focusing on summarizing each paragraph forced me to consider what made sense and to question it when there was something that I didn’t understand. My copy of the article became quite annotated. As I continued to work through the article and compared it with other readings, I was reading deeper and noticing details that I hadn’t noticed previously.  

Photo by Lori Kemp

I spent time reviewing the articles from the author’s reference list, reading what the cited authors wrote and comparing it with how the author presented the information in the article that I was working on. I was surprised and a little miffed that the very first reference that I checked did not even address the concept that my author had cited it for.  I felt like the author had tried to pull the wool over my eyes. It was hard to believe that could happen in a peer reviewed, published article.  By the time I was finished evaluating the article I was actually gaining confidence in my own research and writing abilities!

Writing the article critique was not as difficult as I thought it might be. It was interesting to compare the perspectives of different authors and even to observe how the subject had evolved through the years of articles. This process has emphasized for me the importance of gathering research from multiple sources and to consider the validity of the sources and of the information. 

Now that I reflect on skepticism versus curiosity, skepticism suggests negativity, before even determining if there is a problem. It seems to me that a skeptical thought is an opinion that something is wrong, but with no substance to back it up. I agree with Todd's (2004) suggestion that it has the potential for being associated with being closed-minded.

Curiosity on the other hand, implies questioning with a purpose, without bias. One question leads to another in the search for answers, with evidence to back up the information that emerges. The idea of being open minded and curious feels not only comfortable, but exciting and full of potential for discovery. 


Todd, R. (2004). Becoming a critical thinker, (pp.1-27). Retrieved from

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

What is this Space?

Retrieved from

In this world of social  technology that we live in, many of us have a presence in multiple spaces. Personally, I have a Facebook page, an Instagram page, a Linked In profile, a Twitter account, a Pinterest board and now my own blog.  Different parts of my identity are revealed in different spaces. For example, my Facebook is personal and is shared with family and friends. LinkedIn serves a professional purpose and my twitter account is mostly professional, with some filtered aspects of my personal thoughts and experiences. 

This blogging space is relatively new to me, and I am still getting a feel for how it fits and what part of my identity is comfortable here. It has the potential for serving as a journal, but it is open to the public, so that makes me want to filter it and make it a little more formal. I haven’t gone out of my way to publicize this blog. Right now I imagine that my blog is guarded by the parameters of this course, although I realize that this is not the case. Many people post links to their blogs on twitter or Facebook, but for now, that is too far outside of my comfort zone.

There are many different views on academic blogging. Estes (2012) describes blogging as a space to think about things and to invite informal conversation. Asselin (2011) identifies blogging as a way to augment communications and effectively network.  I hadn’t previously considered blogging as a way to have a conversation. I see it as a way to share thoughts and information in a more transmissive way. People can comment on your blog, but I had never thought of the process as a conversation, as the interaction seems limited. I view it more as a series of one way conversations. 

Although blog styles and purposes are as unique as the people that write them, there are some critical views of blogging. In the article Blogging in the Academy, Nackerud and Scaletta (2008) share examples of critics, who express frustration with the perceived poor quality of informal writing in some blogs. 

I have enjoyed discovering other people’s blog spaces, with entries relevant (and sometimes not) to our studies. Previously, the blogs that I have sporadically followed have been predominantly from the other side of my career. As you can imagine, there is a marked difference between fashion blogs and academic blogs (although I find inspiration in both). From our own cohort blogs I have found inspiration, comfort and humour.

I still don’t know exactly what this space will become for me. I do intend to continue using it throughout the MALAT program. In our discussions during residency, we talked about journaling as an effective way to track our thinking, especially in regards to research. I don’t think that my blog will be the place where I capture all those thoughts, but I can see sharing versions of my journal entries along the way. Who knows?  - maybe as I continue to gain confidence as a budding academic, I will be  apt to publicize my blog more widely. For now, I am happy to be sharing with my residency cohort. 


Aselin, K. (2011). Blogging: The remediation of academic and business communications.  Ann Arbor, Michigan:ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. 

Estes, H. (2012). Blogging and academic identity. Literature Compass, 9(12), 974-982. doi:10.1111/lic3.12017

Nackerud, S., & Scaletta, K. (2008). Blogging in the academy. New Directions for Student Services (124), 71-87. doi:10.1002/ss.296