The Kauffman Foundation has named four faculty members of the Syracuse University School of Information Studies as Kauffman Professors of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (KPEI): Michael D’Eredita, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Lee McKnight, and Jeff Rubin.

“I am thrilled the Kauffman Foundation has selected four members of our outstanding faculty,” said iSchool Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy. “It’s wonderful that our school’s commitment to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the information field is recognized in this way.”

The KPEI was born out of the growing entrepreneurial eco system at Syracuse University. Faculty from every school and college at SU engage in research, teaching, commercialization, and community engagement in entrepreneurship. The Foundation awarded $3 million to SU and five partner universities in 2007 to infuse entrepreneurship across the curriculum in a way that has resulted in more than 160 projects at SU. With the institution of KPEI, instead of seeding projects, the goal is to ensure that best practices are shared and entrepreneurship is embedded into campus culture.

“The Kauffman Professors of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a distinguished group of faculty who have been instrumental in spreading entrepreneurship across the Syracuse University campus,” said Bruce Kingma, associate provost of entrepreneurship and innovation. “We’re bringing them together to talk about what they have done, hear what others across campus have done and kick entrepreneurial activity in the curriculum up yet another notch.”

The selected iSchool professors have already contributed much to the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation at Syracuse University. D’Eredita, assistant professor at the iSchool co-teaches IST 484: Idea2Startup with Syracuse University Entrepreneur in Residence John Liddy and College of Visual and Performing Arts Associate Professor William Padget .

“It is an honor to be selected,” D’Eredita said. “I am confident that our efforts to grow the entrepreneurial spirit at Syracuse University will continue for quite some time given both the passion and dedication of this group of KPEIs.”

Complementing D’Eredita’s class in entrepreneurship, Hurst-Wahl, iSchool professor of practice, hosted the Talking Business series wherein successful business owners from the Central New York community shared valuable insight with micro business owners and aspiring students. She hosted 13 programs, drawing more than 175 attendees, covering topics from marketing to female-owned businesses to being a serial entrepreneur.

“Being a part of KPEI allows me to be more connected to entrepreneurial activities on campus,” said Hurst-Wahl. “It is wonderful to hear and see what others are doing, and what impact we’re having on the campus.”

Showcasing success in iSchool entrepreneurship, Rubin owns and operates SIDEARM Sports out of the iSchool’s Hinds Hall after starting the company in 1995 as an iSchool student. Adding to the iSchool’s list of entrepreneurial professors, McKnight founded the Wireless Grids Innovation Testbed (WiGit), an organization that researches areas of application for wireless grid networks, as well as developing markets for applying ubiquitous networks.

“I am honored to have been selected as a Kauffman Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” said McKnight. “I have made more than my share of mistakes in developing innovative technologies; and suffered my share of setbacks in pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. With my appointment as a Kauffman Professor, I hope I can share my experience and advice to help others succeed in developing their own entrepreneurial projects – or at least make their own fresh mistakes.”

Professors in KPEI will meet two to three times per semester to network, share, and learn from other faculty across campus. In addition, they are eligible to apply for matching funding for travel to conferences and workshops in entrepreneurship and innovation in the arts, engineering, design, technology, business, and social entrepreneurship. KPEI will also be eligible to apply for matching funding for travel for guest classroom speakers in entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as access to other benefits, including books on academic entrepreneurship, a subscription to Entrepreneur magazine and tickets to the Syracuse Famous Entrepreneurship Series.