The mission of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) interdisciplinary area is to enable students to further pursue their passion through innovative and entrepreneurial ventures in courses and co-curricular activities. It is important to note that we use the word “innovative” in a particular sense, referring to creative, original thinking that leads to new ideas, products, or services that create value for society. Similarly, we use “entrepreneurial” in a specific way, referring to taking initiative and creating positive change in the world. Finally, our use of the word “venture” includes both for-profit and non-profit ventures, and more broadly any initiative to deliver a product or service in a sustainable way.
Innovation and entrepreneurship, understood in this sense, fit naturally into a liberal education. The cultivation of innovative, entrepreneurial thought and action requires one to approach problems from multiple perspectives, to think creatively beyond the status quo, to create and deliver coherent, persuasive arguments. These are essential skills that a liberal education aims to impart to its recipients. The I&E program is one place among many where Lawrence’s curriculum attempts to develop the ability to create what did not exist before. I&E courses attempt to enhance the ability to generate new ideas or processes. Certainly other courses do this in other ways. Graduates who embrace innovative and entrepreneurial attitudes will be better equipped to create fulfilling lives for themselves—lives that extend their liberal arts experience.