Vaunted program hits turbulence

August 20, 2008
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Ball State Universityâ??s entrepreneurship program has long been considered one of the stateâ??s crown jewels in business academics.

Former funeral director Don Kuratko started the program before entrepreneurship was cool and pushed it to national prominence. Real-world business types like the program because, in order to graduate, students have to write a business plan that actually passes muster with a panel of hard-nosed business executives.

Kuratko left in 2005 for a similar post at Indiana University, and the program he left behind is showing signs of stress.

Its graduate program didnâ??t make U.S. News & World Reportâ??s 2007 ranking after placing 16th in 2004, and the undergraduate program has lost several notches.

Meanwhile, IUâ??s entrepreneurship undergrad program has shot to second place from ninth in 2004, before Kuratko arrived, and the graduate program is sixth, up from 18th.

Another question hanging over the future of the Ball State program is the resignation this summer of Kuratkoâ??s replacement, Larry Cox, to take a faculty position at Pepperdine University.

The interim dean of the Miller College of Business at Ball State dismisses the decline in the U.S. News rankings as a temporary fluctuation. â??Rankings in themselves are an inexact science,â?? Rod Davis adds, noting that the U.S. News versions rely heavily on impressions of deans like himself who may or may not be familiar with the various programs around the country.

Davis also points out that Ball Stateâ??s program is the only one in the state to show up in the most recent rankings from U.S. News, as well as Entrepreneur/Princeton Review and Fortune Small Business.

And the interim leader of the entrepreneurship program, Mike Goldsby, is a rising star who has published nationally recognized research on innovation and creativity, Davis says.

How do you feel about prospects for Ball Stateâ??s hanging onto its national prominence?
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