As chair of EWU’s Music Department, Professor Jonathan Middleton is a champion of the fine arts at Eastern. So, imagine the composition professor’s surprise when he found himself the winner of an award at an entrepreneurship conference last month.

In September, Middleton and EWU Information Systems and Business Analytics lecturer Jeff Culver attended the Experiential Classroom three-day clinic at the University of Tampa. The workshops are designed to provide scholars with creative and innovative ways to teach entrepreneurship, develop entrepreneurship courses and entrepreneurship programs. The attendees from EWU are developing curriculum for the new Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology and Entrepreneurship at Eastern, a collaboration between the Music Department and the College of Business.

On day one of the program, Middleton found himself in unfamiliar territory: tasked with teaching a business-related class. “Nothing more daunting for a music teacher,” Middleton says. But Middleton decided to focus on the fundamentals of what he does.

“There has to be a common place where all great teaching starts—no matter what the subject is,” Middleton explains. “In my music classes, I ask a lot of questions and this creates engagement with students; it draws them in and draws out solutions to problems. In this manner, the students claim some ownerships and they become more attached to the learning process.”

The winning team (Middleton on far right).

The next day Middleton and his peers taught a 45-minute business case study. The team placed first among the 14 groups taking part in the workshop.

“While I did not know the subject matter, I did know how to structure an engaging classroom experience, and that paid off,” says Middleton.

For more information on the BA in Music Technology and Entrepreneurship, visit the Music Department website.