Alumni Short Courses

The Wilson Program typically funds  two short-courses annually by Grinnell Alumni. These short-courses are normally 3 weeks long, meeting 2 days a week (T,TH or M,W) from 2:15 to 4:05.

Alumni Short Courses - Fall 2014

Balancing Privacy and National Security and the Role of the Press 

Harvey Nixon '55

We'll wrestle with some hard issues confronting our country: Balancing privacy and national security--the role of the press--and the burgeoning social media. What are the limits? Who says? Analyzing the rule of law. Taught by four lawyers, two of whom are experienced press professionals, we'll also discuss--we hope demonstrate--those professions' essential skills. Plus at least one great movie and a chance to be in a relevant play! An intellectual adventure! 

Click here for the Syllabus to this course.

Regular Courses - Fall 2014

CSC 281-01 Learning from CS Alumni 

This course challenges you to think beyond your time at Grinnell. Alumni with careers related to computer science will tell their own stories so that we can learn how they constructed their lives and careers. They will also provide advice as you think about your life and career. Readings and assignments will encourage further reflection. S/D/F only. Variable topic course. Repeatable for credit when content changes. Prerequisite: Computer Science 151. REBELSKY 

SST 295-02 Managing Entrepreneurship & Innovation 

Special Topic: Solutions: Managing Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Also listed as SST-295-02. This course, sponsored by the Donald L. Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership, takes a case-study approach to the management of innovations, or generating solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems, using case studies by alumni innovators, many of whom will visit class. We start, of course, with Grinnell's most famous entrepreneur, Robert Noyce. Innovations include changes in products, processes, and organizational structures. Alumni will participate throughout the course. Prerequisites: 2 courses in the social studies division. 

SST-295-01 ST: Interdisciplinary Publishing 

Special Topic: Interdisciplinary Publishing: Founding a Prairie Studies Journal. Also listed as HUM-295. This course will train students as entrepreneurs and publishers by involving them in creating an interdisciplinary multimedia on-line journal highlighting North America's prairie region. Students from across the divisions will join instructors and Grinnell alumni from the publishing world to collaborate on an editorial vision for the journal, create a dynamic on-line template, develop an effective marketing plan, solicit and review submissions, and ultimately produce the journal's first issue. Prerequisites: Second-year standing. 

Regular Courses - Spring 2014


This course is sponsored by the WIlson Program in Enterprise and Leadership. An analysis of management issues in non-profit, for-profit organizations and social enterprises, whether the organizational section is local or international, including problems of meshing organizational cultures with local cultures. The concepts of sustainability and resilience in organizations will be examined in detail. Approximately a dozen alumni will participate in class to discuss their organization. Three of these are anthropologists who have developed non-traditional careers in social entrepreneurship, collaborative anthropology, and consulting. We focus on issues of creating effective and sustainable organizations and will survey alumni on their experience in organizations and on skills needed for effective participation in organizations. Especially appropriate for students preparing for or returning from internships. Many of the readings will come from Caulkins and Jordan (eds) COMPANION TO ORGANIZATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY, which features 38 international contributors on a vast range of organizational issues. Course readings also include the most widely read authors on social sector or non-profit organizations and articles by Caulkins and his students. A plus-2 independent study option is available to incorporate additional organizational research or practical training, including Jane Chen (2012 Grinnell Prize Winner) who will do a design workshop on campus in February.


 Career-focused readings and discussions with a dozen alumni will help students think creatively about their career options. Both students and speakers take the Color Q personality assessment (Zichy and Bidou 2007), so that students will know which speakers most resemble them in psychological profile. This will help them to make our triologue, involving students, alumni , and faculty, more insightful. A second goal of this course is to help create a multi-generational community of Grinnell alumni, parents, faculty, and current students in order to enhance our ability to help each other change the world for the better.

Alumni Short Courses - Fall 2013


Atul Gupta '88

This course, sponsored by the Donald L. Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership, identifies the challenges and rewards, the successes and failures that face every entrepreneur starting up a business. The example used will be a computer services company, but the lessons generalize to most kinds of start-ups. The students will see business foundation as the realization of an "idea." Business ideas, like most ideas, are ultimately based on an underlying philosophy that guides key decisions and operations. What is the "value proposition" of your business? In other words, why would consumers buy your product? Why would people come to work for you? What do you offer that they cannot get elsewhere? We will cover such issues as what motivates people risk entrepreneurship. Identifying and building upon core strengths and competencies. How to measure and monitor growth and progress. When and how to get outside help: acquiring mentors, establishing an advisory board. When is it time to reinvent your business? How do you do that? The students should leave this short course with a better understanding of the pain and joy of creating and running a successful company. Mondays and Wednesdays 2:15 - 4:05 p.m. Dates: October 28 to November 12, 2013. Short course deadlines apply.

Regular Courses - Fall 2013

SST/ANT 295.02 Managing Enterprise and Innovation
D. Douglas Caulkins

Special Topic: Managing Enterprise and Innovation This course, sponsored by the Donald L. Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership, takes a case-study approach to the management of innovations, using case studies by alumni visitors. Innovations include changes in products, processes, and organizational structures, in such fields as social enterprise, education, biotechnology, community action organizations, web-based businesses, conservation organizations, and high technology firms. Alumni will participate throughout the course, giving their experience of managing innovation in a variety of firms and NGOs. Prerequisites: 2 courses in the social studies division. Cross-list: ANT-295-02. Mondays and Fridays, 12:45 - 2:05 p.m.