For entrepreneurship to thrive, there must be a way to connect research and practice. This ideology is the basis for Richard M. Schulze, the founder of Best Buy, to fund 10 Schulze Distinguished Professor of Business Awards, which Dr. James Wetherbe, a professor in the Area of Information Systems and Quantitative Scientists, received last summer. The three-year award grants Dr. Wetherbe $50,000 annually to help accomplish research that will prompt the growth of connecting information technology research and industry practices.
"I was grateful to be the first recipient of the Schulze Professorship, as it allows me freedom to focus on meaningful and relevant research," Dr. Wetherbe said. "We, as faculty members, need to ensure that academia addresses the real-world problems of practicing entrepreneurs, managers, investors, marketers and business leaders by adding a translational research capability to the impressive research infrastructure of modern business schools."
Wetherbe, who is nationally recognized for his significant contributions to the fields of information technology and entrepreneurship, will use this three-year funding to further look at how technology can be used with entrepreneurship. He hopes to accomplish this through the Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (EIX), a newly founded innovative social media journal.
Dr. Wetherbe serves as founding editor-in-chief of EIX, which is a philanthropic initiative by the Schulze Family Foundation aimed at encouraging and facilitating entrepreneurship. EIX benefits anyone interested in entrepreneurial research - faculty, students, industry professionals, etc. - by spreading new ideas and best business practices freely and quickly.
"EIX is an example of the innovation needed in entrepreneurship, on an academic level. You look at the current research and publication process for faculty members, and it's almost entirely performed on paper, in addition to the lengthy review processes," he said. "We are in a time now where we can use technology, as faculty members, to speed up this process while still maintaining the standard of academic journals."
Besides publishing research articles, EIX also provides articles on practice, case studies, and interviews of leading entrepreneurs. Dr. Wetherbe is focusing on how business schools can secure corporate funding for research, and, through this Professorship, he hopes to use his experience to promote entrepreneurship and success in business.
"Part of my goal as a Schulze Professor is to share with other researchers what I have learned about obtaining corporate funding for research, as I have had the good fortune of raising over $15 million in funding during my career," Wetherbe said. "Again, though, this work is possible through the support I've received from the Schulze Foundation."
Four additional recipients of the Schulze Distinguished Professorship this fall included: Charles Eesley (Stanford University), Kimberly Eddleston (Northeastern University), Daniel Forbes (University of Minnesota) and Jonathan Eckhardt (University of Wisconsin-Madison). To learn more about the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, visit https://www.schulzefamilyfoundation.org/.