-Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)
Pennsylvania (USA)-based Barbara ‘Bobbi’ KurshAn is senior innovations advisor of the UPenn Graduate School of Education’s Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Certificate program. According to her, this is a pioneer online program for education leaders, administrators, edupreneurs, researchers and investors.
Newspeg. Last December, Kurshan was in Bengaluru to lead a two-day Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conclave for School Leaders hosted by the top-ranked K-12 Inventure Academy. The conclave attracted school leaders, subject and curriculum development experts from across India. UPenn’s objective is to generate awareness about the Penn GSE Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program.
History. A math, computer science and curriculum alumna of Tulane (New Orleans) and Virginia Tech universities, Kurshan began her career in 1976 teaching at her alma mater. After a three-year teaching stint in Virginia Tech, she moved on to serve in leadership roles in edtech companies, for-profits, non-profits, private equity firms and educational institutions. In 1986, she went solo and promoted Educorp Consultants (ECC). She started ECC by developing software for IT behemoth Microsoft Inc’s children’s products, a bundle of products for Apple, among other digital learning products and services, while simultaneously designing curriculums and pedagogies.
In 2018, she was appointed Senior Innovations advisor at UPenn GSE and was assigned responsibility to design and develop innovative curriculums for edupreneurs in the UAE, India and China.
Direct talk. “Modelled on UPenn GSE’s acclaimed advanced degree program in Education Entrepreneurship, our interactive online schools’ development program blends UPenn’s education, business, design, and engineering curriculums and research, to develop thoroughly contemporary scalable schools. Designed in a high-flex model with six customisable modules, the program uses UPenn’s lean startup curriculum, design thinking, and project-based learning. The entrepreneurship and innovation certificate programme is custom-made for entrepreneurs in education, researchers and investors, and people interested in enhancing learning outcomes in formal/informal education,” says Kurshan.
Future plans. With the first UPenn GSE conclave in India receiving acclamation, Kurshan believes that GSE’s business is set for growth.
“There’s new and spreading awareness of the critical importance of well-trained teachers to improve learning outcomes in India’s K-12 education, especially schools. Going forward, I intend to continue our efforts to improve the learning outcomes of the world’s largest child and youth population which exceeds the total population of the US,” says Kurshan.
A bearer of gifts indeed!