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Biography of Jim Smith
 

Economic Development Consideration for University System of Ohio

 

(Excerpts from a presentation by Dr. James M. Smith (BGSU's former Vice President of Economic Development) to BGSU chairs and directors. For full text click here)

Economic development at any state university must be seen as the intersection of capital–human, intellectual and corporate. The greatest contribution that a university can make to the economy of a state, like Ohio, is the generation of students possessing an education rich in values exploration, intellectual depth and technological literacy. The preparation of a trained, intellectual workforce, the retraining of displaced workers, the reintroduction of individuals to the world of work, and the contributions made to life-long learning desires and aspirations are all significant elements of the economic development mission.  Assisting in the development of economic opportunities within local and regional communities and preparing individuals for “horizon jobs” must also be a significant thrust of this mission.

As a catalyst for economic change, several critical steps must be undertaken. In most instances, these steps will begin at the undergraduate level. Instruction will need to focus on the student as an individual with his or her strengths, needs and interests holding a place of centrality. The student will, in turn, be expected to take responsibility for his or her own growth and development.

Graduate education should build upon the success of the undergraduate experience. Graduate students must be provided opportunities to explore connections between their roles and responsibilities as faculty members and professional practitioners, their varied approaches to learning, their personal creation of teaching and learning paradigms, and their overall development as researchers-in-practice.

There is also the need for a sharpened focus for research and development. Without question, certain universities in the state of Ohio do, and will, engage in vastly different types of research than that undertaken by other institutions.  Basic research has been the domain of particular universities, while applied research is more applicable to the type and nature of work conducted elsewhere.  Regardless of system-wide organizational efforts, this pattern will not change.  However, a focused approach to research and development could prove highly beneficial to all fourteen of the state universities.

Entrepreneurship must be encouraged and can be enhanced on any and all campuses in a number of differing manners. First, the creation of awareness for the discipline, by bringing speakers to campus-wide events, is essential. Simply stated, these events and lectures demonstrate to students, faculty and staff that entrepreneurship is a highly desirable career choice. Second, degree offerings in the discipline can and should be developed. At Bowling Green State University, an entrepreneurship minor in the College of Business Administration allows students, regardless of major, to learn and understand how to use the economic system to achieve success, while pursuing their career aspirations.
 
 
Economic Development and Regional Growth   |   Contact   |  Inquiry Formecondev@bgsu.edu 
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