Fellows Operating Guidelines
History and Purpose
The Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows Program was launched in the fall semester of 2013, with sponsorship from the Office of the Provost and the Warrington College of Business. Inaugural candidates were selected in March of 2014, with the annual cycle of the Fellows running from March 17 of the year selected through March 16 of the following year. Fellows are appointed for one year at a time, and can serve as Fellows for up to three years. The length of the Fellowship is tied to the time period necessary to complete the project proposed by the individual and the individual’s desire to remain a Fellow.
The Fellows Program was created to foster and celebrate inter-disciplinary collaboration around creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. We are focused on the role of entrepreneurial thinking and acting within any discipline or academic area on the University of Florida campus. We approach entrepreneurship as:
- the recognition and exploitation of opportunity, where opportunity is pursued without regard to resources controlled;
- a process of creating value through unique resource combinations;
- a means of empowerment and transformation through creative and innovative behaviors;
As these perspectives suggest, it is a behavior that is not defined or limited by context. Beyond its conventional conception in a start-up context, it can include social entrepreneurship, public sector entrepreneurship, academic entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship within a family or church, or notions such as the entrepreneurial artist or entrepreneurial engineer, among many other applications.
Our focus is the “entrepreneurial mindset,” and how the talents, ingenuity and passion of faculty members can be used to affect innovative change. We see faculty innovations as a vehicle for transforming campuses, communities, disciplines and societies. The Fellows Program is a home for the “academic entrepreneur.”
Eligibility and Selection of Fellows
To be eligible for the Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows, an individual must be a full-time faculty member at the University of Florida at the time of applying, and while serving as a Fellow. Individuals selected can be of any rank, and can have been at the University of Florida for any period of time.
The initial pool of Fellows will include up to twelve faculty members. Their selection is by a committee of distinguished faculty members who have worked with the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Academic Director of the Entrepreneurship Program, and the Director of the Center. Once the initial Fellows are selected, up to six new Fellows will be added each year, depending on the number cycling out of the Fellows. Subsequent selection decisions will be made by a Committee consisting of current Fellows, the Academic Director of the Entrepreneurship Program, and the Director of the Center. The total number of Fellows at any one time should not exceed twenty. Fellows will be selected based on the following criteria:
- submission of a project proposal;
- the strength of the entrepreneurship component in the proposed project—the project should like entrepreneurship to the faculty member’s home discipline;
- the project should benefit university stakeholders (i.e., students, faculty, staff, alumni, a discipline as a whole) beyond benefitting just the faculty member;
- the project should be doable in 1-3 years;
- the faculty member should have the background to suggest he/she can complete the project;
- the project should be something relatively novel or new—or at least the defined elements addressed in the project should be significant advances to an existing project.
Further detail on the project itself can be found below. The department head or immediate supervisor of the faculty member must approve the individual serving as an Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow.
Each Fellow will complete (or achieve agreed upon outcomes related to) a project that connects entrepreneurship with their home discipline. Four different types of projects can qualify:
- Development of a new course linking entrepreneurship to the faculty member’s home discipline, modification of an existing course to include significant entrepreneurship content;
- Pursuit of a scholarly research project that examines some aspect of the interface between the faculty member’s home discipline and an element or dimension of entrepreneurship;
- Engagement in research and development and business analysis and planning activity that moves a technology or other intellectual property toward commercialization in the form of a new for-profit or non-profit venture;
- Design and implementation of a community engagement project that combines aspects of entrepreneurship and the subject matter of the faculty member’s home discipline, including some type of social entrepreneurship initiative.
Benefits to Fellows
The primary benefit of the Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows Program is the interdisciplinary fellowship that comes from interacting with a rich, intellectually gifted set of individuals engaged in leading edge initiatives that connect entrepreneurial thinking and acting to a diverse mix of disciplines. In addition, some financial support is available to support the projects being pursued by the Fellows. Further, the resources of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, including the faculty and staff, network of entrepreneurs, and the GatorNest initiative, can be leveraged by each Fellow in support of the project they are pursuing. All Fellows will also receive a plaque recognizing their efforts upon completion of their fellowship.
Expectations of Fellows
There are three primary expectations of the Fellows. Once selected, a Fellow’s primary responsibility is to make reasonable progress and ultimately complete (or achieve agreed upon outcomes related to) the project they have proposed. In addition, Fellows will be asked to attend monthly brown bag lunches to discuss topical issues related to the nexus between entrepreneurship and other disciplines, and share progress on their projects. Thirdly, an annual Fellows Symposium will be scheduled and open to the campus where the work of the Fellows will be featured.
Financial support for the Fellows is based on monies from the Office of the Provost, the Dean of the Warrington College of Business, and private donors. It provides a limited pool of funds that can be used to support the projects of Faculty Fellows. The limited amount of funding places constraints on the kinds of expense categories that can be supported. For instance, course buy-outs and purchases of major equipment cannot be accommodated. Travel expenses related to a conference or more distant meeting would be an example of a reimbursable expense. The purpose is not to be overly constraining, but to encourage reasonable spending of the limited funds available.
There will be instances where Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows have been authorized to make purchases in support of Fellow-related projects. In such cases, all Fellows must follow the outlined procedures below in order to be reimbursed for those expenses. The Entrepreneurship Center will process reimbursements through the UF Travel & Expense System.
- All purchases in support of Fellow-related projects seeking reimbursement require pre-authorization from the Entrepreneurship Center; in such cases, documentation of authorization must accompany the request for reimbursement
- All purchases must clearly be in support of Fellow-related projects
- Pre-authorization can come in the form of an e-mail outlining the purchase and expected impact/relation to Fellow-related project
Reimbursement for Personal Funds:
The following documentation is required when submitting a request for reimbursement for purchases made with personal funds. “Purchaser” means the Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow. “Vendor” is the person or entity selling to purchaser. When requesting reimbursement, purchaser must provide an itemization with:
- Date of purchase
- Purchaser name, campus address and phone number
- Description of purchased items, including:
- unit price
- total itemization amount
- all currency converted to US dollars if necessary
- Vendor name, address and telephone number, and URL/email address if available
- Authorization documentation for purchase with personal funds must also accompany the reimbursement request (a copy of the e-mail response authorizing the purchase will suffice)
- In addition, in all cases, purchaser must provide hardcopy* receipts from vendor.
- A receipt must identify purchaser (received from) and vendor
- A receipt must show date payment received and amount received
- A receipt must make reference to items for which payment was made
- A receipt must be on vendor’s letterhead or vendor’s standard receipt form
*If purchaser cannot secure this type of receipt, a photocopy of the “front and back” of purchaser’s cancelled check, or a credit card statement showing the entry for the purchase, must be provided.
When this type of acquisition is done outside the United States:
- If in foreign currency, all monetary information from the vendor must be converted to US dollars at the rate in effect on the date of purchase
- If the purchase includes VAT tax, that tax can be included for reimbursement
Initially Drafted November 1, 2013