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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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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