Lerner Welcomes New Faculty: Johann Ducharme

This year, the UD Alfred Lerner College welcomed several new faculty members into its community. Johann Ducharme is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and a faculty director of the Siegfried Fellows Program; he spoke with Lerner about his research focus and why he chose to join the University of Delaware.

Lerner: What is your professional and academic background?

Ducharme: I teach and conduct research at the cross-section of entrepreneurship, leadership, and intellectual virtues as an assistant professor in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and faculty director, Siegfried Fellows in Horn Entrepreneurship. Previously, I held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Program for Leadership and Character and Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. I hold a Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary and M.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lerner: What is your research focus?

Ducharme: As a researcher, I am a trained grounded theorist interested in generating new, empirical theory on how to foster intellectual humility in entrepreneurs and future organizational leaders.

Lerner: What inspired you to work in your field/research/subject area?

Ducharme: Intellectual humility is understood as a virtuous ability to remain aware and own one’s intellectual limitations. In short, a willingness to admit “I don’t know” or “I might be wrong.” We live in an age of echo-chambers and extremism. Our democratic society, success in business, and our experts are served best by owning what they do not know while leaning on their own strengths. Humility is often misunderstood as being modest or, at worst, self-abasing. Neither are the case. I was inspired to research intellectual humility given its promise to assist our leaders – political, entrepreneurs, business, experts – to conduct their work with virtue, curiosity, and open-mindedness. The John Templeton Foundation is the primary funder of research on intellectual humility.

Lerner: What is it about UD that made you want to work/teach/research here?

Ducharme: Two words: Horn Entrepreneurship. After 10 years and numerous awards, Horn is a leading and thriving entrepreneurship program with robust academic offerings and complementary co-curricular opportunities. Such as the Siegfried Fellows program that seeks motivated, entrepreneurial students who wish to build their leadership and character.

Lerner: What course are you most excited to teach at Lerner?

Ducharme: I teach courses in entrepreneurship as well as leadership theory and practice, most specifically ENTR/LEAD 253: Individual Leadership as well as ENTR 353: Entr Apprentice. I am passionate about assisting emerging adults to identify, strengthen and use their voice, values and leadership. I teach with intellectual humility, creativity, and excellence to facilitate deep, lasting learning via reflective-based discussion and quality student feedback and to establish myself as a published teacher-scholar of entrepreneurship education.

Lerner: What is something unique about you that may surprise your peers/students? (hobby, talent, experience etc.)

Ducharme: In 2012, I hiked the Camino de Santiago, an ancient 700+ km pilgrimage across the basque region of Northern Spain that ends in Santiago de Compostela, ES. I led a group of undergraduates this past May in the study of entrepreneurship and pilgrimage, specifically how the growing popularity of walking the Camino has sparked small business and innovation. The centerpiece of the course was walking the last 130 km of the Camino de Santiago that has taken place without interruption for over 1000 years, dating back to at least the ninth century.

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