New SDS minor approved

Carnegie Mellon’s faculty has created a new rigorous and scholarly program that will better prepare its students to take on the world.

Professors from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and Carnegie Institute of Technology teamed up with the social and decision science department to design an interdisciplinary minor, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development (IEE). IEE focuses on globalization, technological change, business, creation, and an understanding of the world and forces that govern entrepreneurship and innovation.

“In the coming years, two factors will become ever more important in our economy ­­— innovation and globalization … Our curricula will have to change and adapt so as to best prepare Carnegie Mellon students for these developments,” said Ashish Arora, professor of economics and public policy in the Heinz School.

Next year, Arora will be teaching Technology and Economic Growth, which is one of the core eight classes offered within the minor.

Right from the beginning, university President Jared Cohon and Provost Mark Kamlet were interested in making this minor a possibility, in addition to Pradeep Khosla, dean of engineering, Steven Klepper, social and decision sciences professor and founder of the minor, and Shelley Maddex, associate director of foundation relations.

Last year, Carnegie Mellon applied for a grant from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship. After proposals, meetings, and presentations to the Kauffman Board in Kansas City, the university received a $3 million grant. In return, Kauffman requires Carnegie Mellon to generate $15 million and a commitment to the minor from the whole community. The university encourages students from all colleges within the university to participate in the minor because it develops a climate for entrepreneurship and analytical, communicative, and practical skills.

“I think this international perspective is increasingly essential. Technology-driven industries are all global industries, and an increasing number of key firms are based outside the United States,” said Lee Branstetter, associate professor of economics and public policy. “Much of my teaching within the new minor will be designed to prepare CMU students for a world in which the [research and development] process itself has been globalized. Significant components of it take place outside the United States, and Asian countries, in particular, play an increasingly important role.”

Branstetter will be teaching The Global Economy: A User’s Guide and The Rise of the Asian Economies, both of which are included in the core eight courses in the minor.

“[The new minor] will thrust Carnegie Mellon into a leadership position in education for the world of today and tomorrow,” Cohon said. “When they graduate, our students will work in a world in which there will be a premium placed on innovation and the ability to understand and manage change, especially technological change, and to respond in an entrepreneurial fashion.”

Stephen Klepper, founder and organizer of IEE, has set aside $500,000 from the Kauffman grant to encourage faculty to develop courses in all colleges that expand upon the principles outlined in the new program.

“If it works out right, there will be a tremendous amount of classes for innovation, business, creation, and creativity from many domains within the university,” Klepper said.
Five out of the eight core classes within the minor were offered for the first time this year as a test run. All quickly filled up.

“I think IEE would be a great class for economics majors. I am interested in taking it because it seems like it would offer a lot of new useful information about the world economy as a whole,” said Christine Steffa, a first-year economics major. “I am especially interested in working globally and understanding their business dynamics and economy.”

“Hopefully a lot of students will be intrigued by this, especially as we move forward. We hope to be swamped by demand — that would be a nice problem,” said Klepper.