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 - Spring 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 - 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-traditonal careers in social entrepreneurship, collaborative anthroplogy, 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 assesment (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 studetns , 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 abilty 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.