Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley Awarded NACCE Fellowship

Christine Pigsley
Christine Pigsley

Entrepreneurship instructor will assist two-year colleges with e-ship initiatives at the national level

Dakota County may be prominent in the title of Dakota County Technical College, but in the area of entrepreneurship and economic development, DCTC has an impact that extends far beyond county borders. That impact is one reason Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley, an Entrepreneurship/Small Business faculty member at DCTC, was awarded a 2013 curriculum and training fellowship with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, or NACCE.

Over the next year as a NACCE Fellow, Pigsley will work nationally to assist community and technical colleges with establishing and growing entrepreneurship-based academic programs, often referred to as e-ship education. She will also help two-year colleges develop new delivery models and noncredit education options—all while operating in a more entrepreneurial manner.

Because DCTC was an early adopter of entrepreneurship as an academic program in Minnesota, Pigsley was recruited by the college as the associate dean of business and entrepreneurship with the task to develop the Institute for Business, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Partners in Higher Education site in Apple Valley, Minn. The institute’s operational formula and its host partnership site have been featured and replicated in states across the nation.

In 2011, Pigsley returned to the classroom as an Entrepreneurship/Small Business instructor. She was instrumental in developing a new  Small Business Operations certificate geared to home-based entrepreneurs and returning veterans. Beginning in fall semester 2013, the college will begin offering a new A.S. degree in Entrepreneurship & Small Business* for students with plans to continue their academic journey and make a career of self-employment.

NACCE Summit
Ridgewater College
MinnWest Technology Campus
1700 Technology Drive NE | #101
Willmar, Minn.
Friday, June 7, 2013 | 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The summit will bring together community college staff, faculty and leadership with regional entrepreneurs to advance entrepreneurship education in the MnSCU system. The summit will help build the connections needed to strengthen entrepreneurship opportunities for students across Minnesota. The involvement of regional economic development officials and members of the Southwest Initiative Foundation provides additional skills and resources skills to promote an interdisciplinary approach to an educational experience designed to teach students how to think like entrepreneurs.

Pigsley will draw from her experience and expertise in e-ship education to make a lasting difference as a NACCE Fellow. “This fellowship opportunity is hands-on,” she said. “I have already traveled to California and Massachusetts to provide real-world solutions for a number of two-year colleges.”

When asked what she is seeing nationally, Pigsley responded that state budget cuts and the recession have taken their toll to a much greater extent than seen in Minnesota, but there is no shortage of interest in entrepreneurship. “We have colleges that have been offering entrepreneurship courses for years and are now looking to practice what they teach by operating in a manner that is more self-sustaining and locally-driven,” she said. “Likewise, some colleges that have focused on a strictly university transfer mission are recognizing that the effective skills of a business owner can be applied throughout an individual’s life. College leaders are realizing that income patching through self-employment is a reality for many of our students.”

With an active network of nearly 300 community college members in the U.S., Canada, Korea, Denmark and the U.K., NACCE is at the forefront of designing e-ship solutions for presidents, deans and faculty at two-year institutions. The NACCE Fellowship offers DCTC a range of new ideas and partnership opportunities. Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley has been able to showcase the college’s high-quality, innovative programs on a national stage, cultivating new funding avenues for both DCTC and the state of Minnesota.

“I couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to share my classroom and administrative leadership experiences in entrepreneurship with other colleges,” Pigsley said. “Stay tuned because entrepreneurship is one of the hottest growth areas in career and technical education today.”

* Pending MnSCU approval
For more information about Entrepreneurship/Small Business at DCTC, contact: