Whitman School Professor Inspires Psychology Faculty and Doctoral Students to Think Entrepreneurially

“We are all entrepreneurs in one way or another,” is one of the many lessons Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice Alexandra Kostakis of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management is sharing with a group of faculty and graduate students from the department of psychology at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

In February, Kostakis gave a talk to kick-off a three-part workshop series designed to increase the entrepreneurial behavior of the students and faculty in attendance. While some graduate programs offer development seminars and courses designed to teach specialized technical skills, this unique seminar series helps participants identify occupational challenges and think of creative solutions by encouraging attendees to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

According to Kostakis, entrepreneurs must be able to identify opportunities in their surroundings and develop creative solutions that provide value. Interdisciplinary collaborations in problem-solving adds diversity and allows for more creative problem-solving. These skills, explained Kostakis, can be an asset to any individual.

“We all know that the skill set of entrepreneurial thinking can be applied in any field and even in your personal life,” said Kostakis. “We wanted to expose students and faculty to this skill set in order to make them better clinicians and researchers.”

During this three-part series participants are tasked with examining the new demands, recurrent problems and increasing opportunities that are relevant to the psychology workforce, as well as participate in role-playing, group discussions, case studies, self-analysis, elevator pitching, problem-based learning and more. The first two classes, held in Feb. and March, were open to students and the faculty, while the last class in April is for faculty only.

“I think it’s great that the department decided to include the faculty in this experience,” said Kostakis. “I love doing workshops because it is another way to teach entrepreneurship to broader audiences, and this workshop series gives faculty the hands-on experience and training mechanism to help the faculty in integrating entrepreneurship into pedagogical and mentoring practices.”

Kevin Antshel, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology, worked to organize the workshop series with the help of funding from the American Psychological Association. According to Antshel, these workshops are an opportunity to also leverage the existing resources on our campus and build upon active collaborations between psychology and entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises faculty.

“We believe that increasing entrepreneurial awareness will benefit all doctoral students, regardless of their career orientation,” said Antshel. “The skills of being proactive and considering new demands, new or recurrent problems, as well as associated opportunities are tenets that are central to entrepreneurship yet also have clear relevance to doctoral students in psychology as they prepare to enter a dynamic workforce.”

Daniel Strauss