University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Professor Named National Entrepreneur Educator of the Year

Dollar Enterprise students sell their products outside UVM's Bailey/Howe Library.
Dollar Enterprise students sell their products outside UVM's Bailey/Howe Library. This innovative program designed by Kathleen Liang gives students the chance to create and run their own small business venture. (Photo: Joshua Brown)

The Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ASBE) named Kathleen Liang, professor in Community Development Applied Economics, National Entrepreneur Educator of the Year at its annual conference on Sept. 25 in Orlando, Florida.

The award, considered the highest honor for an entrepreneurship educator in the U.S., is given to an academic who has made a long-term impact on the entrepreneurship discipline through efforts in the classroom, campus and/or their community. Liang is credited with designing, developing, and implementing the first entrepreneurship curriculum within an agriculture and life sciences program in the U.S. in 1998.

“UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administrators, colleagues, staff, and students have created an unique environment for us to be innovative and successful,” said Liang. “I am honored to have won this award and to be a part of the CALS family.”

Liang was also recognized for her creation of the Dollar Enterprise program, considered one of most innovative service-learning and experiential-learning courses in the nation. Students in her Introduction to Community Entrepreneurship course are given $1 and work in teams to create and operate small business ventures on campus to benefit charity organizations focused on youth development, mentoring, homeless, and health services. Since 2005, more than 3,000 UVM students have participated in Dollar Enterprise activities that generated upwards of $60,000 for 300-plus charity organizations.

The award from ASBE, an organization dedicated to presenting theoretical and applied research pertaining to the field of small business and entrepreneurship, adds to the growing list of awards for Liang. In 2015, she won the National Innovation Award from the Farm Credit Union and the National MarketMaker Program. The Dollar Enterprise program won the Best Practices Award at the 2014 Small Business Institute Conference in Las Vegas.