Peter Rachor is the driving force behind the Hynds Entrepreneurial Fellows Programme at the University of Auckland.

This visionary and ambitious initiative emerged as a “moon-shot” endeavour to instil an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability in students across diverse study areas. The initiative was created in recognition of entrepreneurship education’s potential to have an exponential economic social, environmental and economic impact on society.

Key to the goal of the University of Auckland becoming the home of radical innovation in New Zealand is the ability to imbue students from all faculties with an entrepreneurial mindset and with the ability to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

The Entrepreneurial Fellows Programme addresses the challenge of embedding entrepreneurship education across the entire university. The University recognised that if they want to produce generations of innovators, problem-solvers and creative-thinkers, considerable changes are required in both the content and process of learning.

One of the initiatives primary goals is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in every faculty and to do so in a way that is relevant and meaningful to students in each discipline. Going beyond its bedrock constituents in business, engineering and the sciences, the University seeks to create an “entrepreneurial mindset” and positively impact students in the creative arts, humanities, education, medicine and law.

Peter’s approach to engaging students and staff from very different faculties, discipline and cultures involves delivering entrepreneurship and innovation concepts to students in a language and context that is not only relevant but also resonates with their respective areas of study. By providing expertise and knowledge, Peter contributes to the development of curricula initiatives strategically integrating innovation and entrepreneurship concepts throughout the university.

Notable achievements include the successful integration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship content into fourteen courses spanning seven faculties, as well as into course curricula and assessment. Over the past four years, more than 10,000 students have benefited from Hynds initiative curricular activities. The impact has been profound, reflected in remarkably high levels of student satisfaction and engagement. Moreover, two faculties have committed financial support to extend the programme, underscoring a clear recognition of the value Peter has brought to the university’s academic landscape.

Critical to the success of the Hynds Entrepreneurial Fellows programme has been a partnership model that allows working collaboratively with diverse others in a way that makes sense to their subject field, as well as paying deep attention to the needs, interests, and pain points of both students and staff.

Staff participants in the Hynds Entrepreneurial Fellows Programme have appreciated the expertise and opportunities the programmes have afforded to breathe new life into a wide range of programmes.

In terms of student engagement – students often talk of hopes and aspirations for their future, along with that of the planet, institutions, and governments. Approaching these problems first with a lens of curiosity and empathy, and then using their collective intelligence, lived experiences and trainings has helped to foster collaboration and trust in students of all ages and backgrounds. Entrepreneurship and innovation education provides a lens through which students can navigate the significant challenges of implementation and delivery to a wide range of problem-solving initiatives, preparing them for their roles as team members, citizens, and changemakers. Understanding the ambiguity, uncertainty, and risk inherent in this process helps instil resiliency, enabling students to prepare for a bright and opportunistic future.

 

Read more about the initiative here.

To hear from the other Impactful Educator Awardees and their initiatives, visit our e-zine special issue.

Edited by Tasha Day (UIIN)