Students instead of Consultants

Writing for the Indianapolis Star, Seth Slabaugh reports:

“Ball State University didn’t hire a television production company or advertising agency to create four new TV commercials that will start airing next month in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend.

“The ads were produced by students and directed by faculty and administrators.

“’This is one of the things we are known for — entrepreneurial learning,’ BSU spokeswoman Joan Todd said after a board of trustees meeting on Friday. ‘We have the expertise to do this in-house.’ . . .

“The commercials reflect Ball State’s vision under second-year President Paul Ferguson to serve as ‘the model of the most student-centered and community-engaged of the 21st Century public research universities, transforming entrepreneurial learners into impactful leaders.’

“In one of the ads, students are shown getting real-time experience in the stock exchange, partnering with a local school to help students, teaming with a professor to use state-of-the-art technology and performing CPR in a nursing simulation lab.

‘One of the four ads focuses on BSU athletics.

“The commercials affirm the university administration’s new commitment to involve students, faculty and staff in creating ‘their own brand,’ said Julie Hopwood, senior adviser to the president. She says the commercials are ‘just as good as an external firm could produce’ because ‘we have the facilities, we have the faculty experts and we have the students who are motivated and talented enough to do this.’ . . .”


If this is what “entrepreneurial education” involves, I am all for it–or at least this part of it.

At most of our universities, in-house expertise is publicized when a corporation, governmental agency, or another college or university takes advantage of it. Otherwise, it is largely ignored.

Instead of reflexively hiring outside consultants, our institutions ought to consider first whether such expertise is available in-house. If it is, the institutions ought to be committing the funds that would have been spent on the outside consultants to the development of academic programs that make at least some of the outside consultants less necessary, if not completely unnecessary.


Seth Slabaugh’s complete article is available at:



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