For any group working towards a shared goal, reliable information – on how effectively members of the group are achieving that goal, and on how they might increase their impact – is key to success, and this is no less true of the enterprise and entrepreneurship education community than it is of any other.
That is why, after a hiatus of nearly four years, the Centre for Entrepreneurs is partnering with the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) to relaunch the Survey of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education (SEE-HE), last run in 2012. Before the moaning and groaning begins (“yet another survey?”) it is worth providing some context on our decision to reinstate it.
The Centre for Entrepreneurs is a non-profit think-tank that researches the economic and social impact of entrepreneurship. In the past, we’ve published reports on the entrepreneurial potential of migrants, seaside towns and prisoners (to name a few) and used our findings to push for positive changes to public attitudes and government policy. Our latest project will explore the extent of entrepreneurial activity among university students and graduates, and examine the role of universities in supporting them.
As we began our review of previous research in this area, we were surprised by a distinct lack of up-to-date data on the state of the sector. High quality, comprehensive data allows students and faculty to understand their institution’s impact, and assists government and other funding bodies in allocating scarce resources (of renewed importance post-Brexit). While universities do have to submit annual figures to HEFCE on the number of start-ups they have supported (though there are question marks regarding accuracy), and although plenty of mapping and impact studies exist in relation to individual universities or even groups of universities, there is no all-encompassing survey of institutions on their entrepreneurship education activities that allows for reliable comparison.
Or at least, there hasn’t been one since NCEE last ran the SEE-HE in 2012. In our conversations with enterprise educators, we have found ourselves constantly being referred back to the findings of the 2012 edition when asking for data on the state of the sector. And although we found the survey extremely interesting, the question that immediately came to mind was:what’s happened since?
To find out, we approached NCEE and asked them if they would consider rerunning the survey with us. They quickly agreed, with the result that – along with official supporters Enterprise Educators UK, the sector’s leading membership body – we announced the relaunch of the survey at last week’s International Enterprise Educators Conference at Liverpool John Moores University.
The SEE-HE is a comprehensive survey that includes questions on both the curricular and extra-curricular components of enterprise and entrepreneurship education. It is split into sections including course provision, extra-curricular activities, student participation, institutional policy, funding and sustainability and asks for a variety of both quantitative and qualitative information. For this year’s edition, responses we receive will feed into a final report that will provide a general overview of what higher education institutions are doing, with data pertaining to individual institutions remaining confidential (though the process of collection will undoubtedly also generate internal benefits for universities).
In order to be as democratic and transparent as possible, CFE and NCEE are crowdsourcing suggested amendments and improvements to this year’s edition of the SEE-HE from the educator community. Although for comparability reasons the survey cannot differ much from previous editions, we realise that there may be the need for minor tweaks and additions, and recognise that those best placed to make suggestions are educators themselves. Once we have received comments and incorporated them into the survey, we will launch the 2016 edition of the SEE-HE later this year.
I will continue to blog on the progress of the survey in the coming weeks and months - stay tuned for further details!
First published on the Centre for Entrepreneurs blog on 13/09/2016 here written by Maximilian Yoshioka, Lead Researcher at the Centre for Entrepreneurs.
To download the 2012 edition of the survey, click here. To suggest changes to the survey, or if you simply want to get in touch with thoughts or questions, you can email me via firstname.lastname@example.org