Summer 2020

Office Hours: Always Moving Forward

Professor Nan Langowitz

Over 28 years of molding entrepreneurial leaders at Babson, Nan Langowitz has become the embodiment of an entrepreneurial leader herself, identifying opportunities and pursuing solutions.

The longtime professor of management was the founding director of Babson’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), serving in that role from 2000 to 2007. She has been a pioneer in digital education on campus, teaching courses in the Blended Learning MBA program for 15 years. And, since September, she has been the inaugural faculty director for Babson’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT).

“I’ve been able to invest at Babson,” Langowitz says, “to imagine changes and create new things.”

The impact she made at CWEL, in particular, endures. Among other things, CWEL has helped increase undergraduate women on campus from 34% to about 50% of the student population and graduate women from 24% to almost 40%.

“I’m pretty proud that a little idea that got started with a group of us 20 years ago has helped the College move forward in that way,” Langowitz says. “It’s done a lot of good for the campus community.”

Now, in her role with CELT, she’s on the front lines of the College’s digital education efforts. Working with the Academic Technology Innovation Center, CELT launched a robust Online Teaching Training Program in June, preparing all faculty for a fall semester that will make all courses accessible virtually, depending on student needs.

“The idea is to really try to give faculty an opportunity not only to learn whatever the next set of tools is that they feel they want to improve on,” Langowitz says, “but also to have a chance to come together and talk with each other about online pedagogy.”

Langowitz knows good teaching is good teaching, regardless of the method. This spring was no exception, when the pandemic interrupted her undergraduate elective, Leadership, but didn’t disrupt the unique opportunity she created for her 41 students.

They worked in groups to develop concepts to create and scale a new Entrepreneurial Leadership Village, the centerpiece of the new Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership. In the last session of the class, students presented their best ideas to President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD and D.R. Widder MBA’99, vice president of innovation, via Webex.

“I was able to use it to get them to think creatively to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist,” Langowitz says. “It was a true entrepreneurial leadership activity.”

The kind she has been creating on campus for 28 years.

“The most important thing to me personally,” Langowitz says, “is how I can help Babson move forward.”

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