By Alyssa Schoeneman
Like a true entrepreneur, Academy Faculty Fellow Rhiannon Clifton is an expert at fusing her passions.
After working for five years as the Assistant Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC), Clifton became the Program Director for the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising. In both positions, Clifton was tasked with creating, directing and maintaining new programs – skills that transferred nicely when she began designing her “Entrepreneurial Media” course for the Academy in 2010.
Clifton, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, said that the inspiration for her course was a desire to blend her backgrounds.
“I have this passion for entrepreneurship and a passion for advertising,” Clifton said, “so being able to combine those two things in a course and teach others about them will be rewarding.”
Clifton noted that she got encouragement from College of Media Interim Dean Jan Slater, who shares an interest in entrepreneurial media.
“I would see a few articles about entrepreneurs in Chicago and the [Silicon] Valley who are in the media and advertising space, and I would think, ‘We should teach our students to do this,’” Clifton said. “Jan and the rest of the College of Media have been very supportive in making his happen.”
Clifton said that in researching for the course, it became clear to her that there are not many courses in entrepreneurial media, advertising or mass communications offered at universities, despite the fact that so many people in advertising, communications and journalism fields often start their own websites or companies.
“At present, there isn’t a course dedicated to entrepreneurship in the College of Media,” Clifton said. “When this course is live, our students won’t need to look outside the College to find an entrepreneurship course.”
Clifton is currently developing the course, which she said will assess what the foundations of entrepreneurship mean and how they work in media and advertising. At this time, she is unsure exactly what the course content will entail.
“There are so many different places where the course could go,” Clifton said. “I am really trying to focus on giving students a solid understanding of the topic that will be useful to them as they move forward in their academic and professional careers.”
Possible course topics include: how new media is affecting the economics of traditional media, how to assemble a business plan and/or how to create new entrepreneurial media vehicles. Thanks to a University of Illinois campus that is brimming with resources, Clifton noted, there also exists the potential to pair advertising students with students from other disciplines to build new companies.
Clifton’s goal, she said, is to instill entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial principles in College of Media students and students across campus.
If that sounds intriguing, be sure to sign up for Clifton’s course when it launches in Fall 2012!
Entrepreneurial project developed by Professor Clifton
This course explores the continually changing media landscape through a lens of entrepreneurship and media in a digital age. Students will explore entrepreneurial concepts as they relate to advertising and mass communications.
Visit Course Catalog website for course availability
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About Professor Clifton
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