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As an instructor in East Central University’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business, Stacey Bolin’s classroom approach is creative and unconventional.

By virtue of that, Bolin was one of only five college faculty from across the state to receive the prestigious Da Vinci Fellowship Award this past spring.

These awards go to higher education faculty, whose accomplishments reflect creative and innovative approaches that have made a significant contribution to their academic discipline.

“It’s an amazing honor. First, it’s an honor to be ECU’s nominee especially for a faculty member who hasn’t been here that long,” said Bolin, who also serves as director for the Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship and was recently elevated to assistant professor of business administration.

The fresh approach and creativity she brings to the classroom has drawn praises from Wendell Godwin, dean of ECU’s Stonecipher School of Business.

“Stacey has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and in the programs that she is engaged in at ECU,” said Godwin. “She has combined her education with 10 years of industry experience to bring innovation and fresh ideas into the classroom.”

In leading an entrepreneurship class, Bolin’s goal is to make it a real-life experience.

“It’s more than just reading a textbook. In fact, we don’t use a traditional textbook,” Bolin said. “But there are readings.”

In the spirit of television’s “Shark Tank”, she developed a “Tiger Tank” competition, which is part of the entrepreneurship class.

“We try to teach students how to deliver a good pitch for a new idea,” said Bolin. “I share two or three recent articles on the topic from resources like Entrepreneur Magazine, two or three examples, via video, of good and bad pitches, then coach them on creating a pitch for an idea that they have for a new product, service or social venture. To help get them started, I break the class into small groups and walk them through creating the hook or opening sentence, then they share hook ideas with each other for their ideas.”

Those efforts have also led to success for ECU teams in the statewide Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, an entrepreneurship competition. In fact, ECU teams swept the top three spots in the small business division of the most recent event this past spring while teams and individuals have claimed prizes in past competitions.

Bolin has also instituted programs which have engaged students and potential students. One is the highly successful and award-winning Oklahoma Business Week, a summer camp for high school students to learn business practices from actual professionals. OBW has received regional and national acclamation.

She also helped with the creation and delivering of a Robotics Camp on campus.

“Bolin utilizes her career experiences in web programming, sales, sales management, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship to supercharge the classroom experience,” Godwin said. “Her creativity, innovation and drive to constantly raise the bar in her classrooms and programs perfectly matches the Da Vinci mission to promote a creativity renaissance through lectureships, workshops, professional development, research and advocacy.”



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