Dave Croasdell is the chairman of the Information Systems (IS) department and the Charles and Ruth Hopping Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is involved in many different areas on campus in addition to entrepreneurship and IS, including athletics and international programs.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you’re involved with?
I’ve been pretty fortunate because while I do wear a lot of hats, I feel like all the hats fit pretty well. First and foremost is being a faculty member here and interacting with the students. That’s great. Our students in the IS program are generally pretty bright and pretty highly engaged, so that’s been pretty fun. I’m chairman of the department, which means I do mostly just a lot of paper pushing. … I’ve been highly engaged in international and global education. I’m just coming off a stint as chairman of the university’s international activities commission. … The number of international conferences that this university has hosted in the last year is amazing. It’s like 12 conferences in five years that we’ve hosted—international. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Corina Black and the folks at the Northern Nevada International Center putting together a program for Young African Leadership Institute that’s sponsored by the state department. So next summer we should have 25 young African business leaders here learning about how to do business in the United States. And I’ve taught abroad in almost every continent.
That’s pretty awesome.
It’s very cool. Going to China and manufacturing facilities there—it was fantastic. And then comparing it to things that are happening in Europe or in Spain. Mark Pingle and myself and Marcel Schaerer, who works in our Small Business Development Center, we just went to Chihuahua, Mexico, for the last five days. We just got back from this global entrepreneurship conference. … So the idea is this notion of global entrepreneurship. There’s over 7 billion people on the planet, anyone of them is a potential customer. … So about four or five years ago, the dean reached out to Mark Pingle in economics, and I jumped on board about the same time to boost that program a little bit, start offering more classes. We developed a minor program and started to get some traction with the Entrepreneurship Club and what not.
What would that be, exactly?
There [are] eight centers for cyber security excellence in the United States, but none, that I’m aware of, on the West Coast. … The idea of a cyber security center is very interdisciplinary. It’s pulling from political science to do policy, from computer science to do sort of the hardware stuff, from IS to do our thing, from central IT to help support and manage that. We’re trying to figure out what it’s going to look like. … It’s about working together, but obviously there’s a lot of stuff going on right now with security and cyber security in particular. One of the cases that’s fairly well known is something called Stuxnet, a software virus that was unleashed on nuclear facilities in Iran. They shut their whole plants down with software, and if it can happen to them, it can happen to us.
Are you looking at that becoming a minor program or something like that?
There will be courses that will be offered that will be part of a degree program in computer science or information systems or political science, depending on what the focus is. We’re working on trying to develop a curriculum. Whether or not it ends up being a degree program, we don’t know yet, but at the very least it will be a certificate program.
What’s your favorite thing to be working with?
I really enjoy the entrepreneurship aspect. It’s people with energy and people with ideas. We talk about not getting a job, but creating your job. So I think for me it’s the entrepreneurship, but the global aspects of it and exploring that in research and talking about it in classes and working on that with various different entities on campus. That’s probably been where I get the greatest thrill.