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Intellectual Entrepreneurship


Intellectual Entrepreneurship

Tear down the ivory towers. This is real-world education that changes the lives of students and the community.

Intellectual Entrepreneurship is a growing University consortium that aims to attract more students — especially minorities and first-generation college students — to graduate school, to give them real-world experiences, and to make a difference in the community. Colleges and schools across campus are participating: the Colleges of Communication, Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, Law, Education, and Pharmacy and the Schools of Business, Engineering, Information, Public Affairs, and Social Work.

About 400 UT Austin undergraduate and graduate students are engaged in Intellectual Entrepreneurship each year. More than 4,000 have participated since 1997. The University is seeking private support in the amount of $50 million to help offer the program to more students — and to deepen the University’s level of service to the community.

Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) aims to create “citizen-scholars” who use their knowledge to help society. IE pairs undergraduates with graduate student mentors, provides fellowships for students tackling community issues, and funds teams of faculty and students working to solve complex social problems. For example, IE projects could:

  • Help seniors find a way to stay in their homes as they age.
  • Address racial tension in the public schools.
  • Help a business find ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

IE has been particularly effective in addressing a shortage of minorities in graduate school. Blacks and Latinos constitute 32 percent of doctoral-age U.S. citizens but only 7 percent of doctoral recipients, according to a recent study. The IE program shows promise in closing that gap: More than 50 percent of IE pre-graduate interns are under-represented minorities and first-generation students.

To make a gift now, go to the University’s secure online giving page.

You can read about students currently involved in Intellectual Entrepreneurship in Exploring All the Options, or you can watch this video.

For more information about supporting Intellectual Entrepreneurship, please contact:

Richard A. Cherwitz
Professor and Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship
Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
Intellectual Entrepreneurship web site

The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Communication Studies
1 University Station A1105
Austin, Texas 78712