Case Study

Institutional Program Development

Ethos worked with a public research university with an undergraduate student population of 20,000+ located in the state of Colorado. The university is the state’s land grant university and one of the largest homes to rural agricultural studies.

The institution offers a wide variety of programs and resources to promote students’ opportunities for success. A key component of the university’s offerings is curated through the facilitation of living-learning communities that support many of the students on campus. One living-learning community, in particular, facilitates educational courses and workshops for 600+ diverse students with their transition to and through the university.

After a dialogue with this community’s living-learning advisor, a need was expressed for more unique and interactive learning models for students as they endeavor to explore numerous pathways to thrive upon graduation. One of these pathways in particular, the university has expressed a need for better support with is promoting entrepreneurial education for students within interdisciplinary fields.

This was discovered as the school has noted the great role that entrepreneurial education can have in teaching students skills that are transferable across a plethora of industries. As a result, the Colorado-based public institution enlisted Ethos to support exploring potential synergies for creating a hands-on and transferable skill-based course in entrepreneurship.

Key Phases

Ethos divided the project into three key phases and, to facilitate the project, worked with an in-house education doctoral graduate who was skilled in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

School Needs Analysis

To begin developing a proposed curriculum, the researcher conducted a needs assessment. This needs assessment aimed to identify students’ gaps within the designated living-learning community. The researcher discovered those needs by exploring:

  1. Overarching institutional offerings and internal resources
  2. Previous and current students’ educational trends
  3. External community initiatives and supplemental programs

Once the data was collected, the Ethos team regrouped with the Colorado living-learning community faculty to review the needs assessment findings. Upon a review of the findings, the floor was opened for feedback to identify next steps for the development of an interactive learning model.

Research Study to Inform Course Development 

Through findings from the needs assessment and feedback the institutional partner, Ethos identified a few key areas for further exploration. A research study was conducted to identify the current and longitudinal benefit of offering an entrepreneurial education course similar in nature to the school’s key initiatives.

The study reviewed students’ long-term goals, their perceptions of entrepreneurial education, and its transferability to numerous industries, courses, and assignments students preferred or did not prefer, and internal/external supplemental programs that supported their educational growth.

Course Proposal and Impact Measurement

Based on the skills assessment conducted by Ethos, a preliminary model for measuring the programs impact was presented. Ethos delivered research findings with recommendations for an instructional plan and curricular programs that addressed the identified opportunities. Given Ethos’ passion to support universities in developing long-term opportunities for students, Ethos presented a method for measuring longitudinal transformation for students through custom assessments.

“Ethos offers what our students need”

University Living Learning Community Director


Ethos’ strategy to meet the needs of the university community led to a unilateral outcome that incorporated feedback at three levels: student, faculty, and the local Colorado community. As a result, institutional living-learning community used the research to validate a need for greater entrepreneurship education in the program, which will be offered in the 2019-2020 academic term.


The research-based approach supported identifying students’ learning needs and areas of interest. Over the long-term, this will ensure students’ greatest opportunities to engage in change to new course offerings. This also supported increasing the viability for students to launch or participate in entrepreneurial ventures in Northern Colorado or apply entrepreneurial thinking in their careers.

Faculty and Institution

Through Ethos’ research process the institution has been able to provide impactful learning opportunities that best meet the needs of students and support the overall development of the greater Northern Colorado community. Portraying this impact has created opportunities to illustrate the institution’s global reach and impact.


The course will facilitate diverse and skilled talent opportunities for the Northern Colorado community. These opportunities, in the longterm, create possibilities for talent development. In addition to supporting the university’s faculty and student communities, this will positively impact Colorado’s long-term economic growth.



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