Recipe for Learning: SMU Professor Writes Book on Entrepreneurship Education

Jim Hart's book offers a step by step guide through his original lessons as well as tips he's gleaned from putting them into practice over the last 15 years.

SMU professor Jim Hart holds United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship award

Southern Methodist University professor Jim Hart hopes to give other educators the dynamic tools needed to boost their entrepreneurial instruction.

In his new book, “Classroom Exercises for Entrepreneurship: A Cross-disciplinary Approach,” Hart lays out 65 experiential lessons he’s used in the last 15 years of teaching entrepreneurship.

“We need to afford these opportunities for students to experience, to discover their own learning …”

Jim Hart

Hart has received national awards from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship for some of the lessons. Earlier this year, the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education named Hart the first recipient of its Sharon T. Alpi Award for Innovative Arts Entrepreneurship Pedagogy. 

Experiential learning has become more prevalent in higher education. Professors are realizing that it’s not enough to only lecture to students, said Hart, who serves as interim chair for the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. 

“We need to afford these opportunities for students to experience, to discover their own learning and, consequently, they’ll own it because they discovered it opposed to those who have been told it is so,” he said.

That’s especially true when it comes to entrepreneurship.

In Hart’s classes, games, simulations, and exercises actively engage students in the entrepreneurial process. He’ll often “flip the classroom,” taking on more of a coaching role. He divides students into groups to work through the exercise answering questions and offering feedback along the way. Then, everyone comes together to reflect on their experiences and Hart reiterates whatever learning objective the lesson was designed to illustrate. 

The book offers a step by step guide through his original lessons as well as tips he’s gleaned from putting them into practice over the years. Hart views it as a “recipe book,” and encourages educators to adopt and adapt lessons to fit their needs. 

“Hart’s book is an important resource with the potential to make a significant impact in how entrepreneurship educators teach.”

Bill Aulet

“The idea is if it tastes good, serve it. If it doesn’t, move on and do something else,” Hart said of the exercises.

It’s already received positive feedback from others in higher education including professors form Babson College, Millikin University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Hart’s book is an important resource with the potential to make a significant impact in how entrepreneurship educators teach,” said Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, on the Edward Elgar Publishing website. “To be a successful entrepreneur requires creativity and a bias to action. This book promotes both in a positive and constructive manner.”

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