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Professor Alec Johnson gives feedback during student presentations during a Foundations of Entrepreneurship class in a "smart classroom" in Schulze Hall 420 in downtown Minneapolis on April 14, 2015.

Knowledgeable, Seasoned Instructors


Learn From Expert Entrepreneurs

The Schulze School faculty members are both knowledgeable instructors and successful entrepreneurs. Our supportive, dedicated instructors are passionate about educating future innovators. Through hands-on learning experiences, they help their students and the community develop the skills to launch and manage their own ventures, or have an impact in established companies.

Collectively, our 8 full-time faculty have over 190 years of teaching experience.
Laura Dunham headshot.

Laura Dunham, PhD

Dean of Opus College of Business, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

A renowned entrepreneurial thought leader, Laura Dunham's focus on principled leadership has defined her career. Prior to role as dean of the Opus College of Business, Laura served as the associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, capturing national attention as the school rose to become a top 25 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country. She joined St. Thomas in 2003, after earning her MBA and PhD from the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business.

David Deeds headshot.

David Deeds, PhD

Professor in Entrepreneurship

In addition serving on the St. Thomas faculty, David Deeds is an award-winning entrepreneur. He was awarded the NASDAQ Fellowship in Capital Formation and named a research fellow at the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. In 2007, Deeds was awarded the Haniel Fellowship in Entrepreneurship at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His current research interests include new venture growth and adaptation, technological discontinuities and technology commercialization.

Jay Ebben headshot.

Jay Ebben, PhD

Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

In addition to teaching courses in entrepreneurial finance, business development and small business management, Jay Ebben advises the Practicing Entrepreneurs group. In 2010, Ebben won the Julie Hays Teaching Award in the Opus College of Business. In 2011, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Slovenia in 2011, where he has returned each summer to lead an entrepreneurship program sponsored by AMCHAM and the U.S. Embassy. He has started several businesses and has worked with entrepreneurs at many stages of business development. He earned his B.S. in industrial engineering from Marquette University and his MBA and PhD in entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Headshot of Alec Johnson

Alec Johnson, PhD

Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

Alec Johnson has published in entrepreneurship and strategy journals with his work focusing on entrepreneurial strategy and finance. He is active in developing case studies on opportunity identification, business models, entrepreneurial management and entrepreneurial finance. In 2013, Johnson and colleague James Ebben developed the innovative Lemonade Stand Class, which earned the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship® 2013 award for Special Recognition in Entrepreneurship Education Innovation. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John McVea headshot.

John McVea, PhD

Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

John McVea researches and teaches entrepreneurial strategy and social entrepreneurship. His work had been published in The Journal of Business Venturing and The Journal of Business Ethics, among others. He’s written over a dozen business case studies about issues such as market entry strategy, innovation field studies, cash flow forecasting, challenges of growth and the use of social media.

Headshot of Ritch Sorenson

Ritch Sorenson, PhD

Opus Chair in Family Business, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

Ritch Sorenson and his family were third-generation bank owners, which led him to focus on family business governance. He has conducted national surveys about family business and developed concentrations in family business at the University of St. Thomas and at Texas Tech University. Sorenson was an associate editor and serves on the editorial board for Family Business Review. He also is on the editorial board for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange. His current research interests include faith-based values, collaboration and social capital in family business. Sorenson has provided executive education and management development to organizations across the U.S. Sorenson won a lifetime influence and impact award at the 2017 Family Enterprise Research Conference.

Mark Spriggs headshot.

Mark Spriggs, PhD

Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship

Mark Spriggs began his career at St. Thomas as a marketing professor in the undergraduate and graduate programs, and served as the marketing coordinator in the part-time MBA program. In 2003, Spriggs was named department chair of the Entrepreneurship Department, and in 2005 was named director of the new Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. His research interests include entrepreneurial growth, franchising, family business and marketing channel relationships. He also consults with local businesses on a range of topics, including how existing companies can develop an entrepreneurial attitude and create marketing strategies that work.

AnnMarie Thomas headshot.

AnnMarie Thomas, PhD

Professor of Engineering, Joint Appointment in Entrepreneurship

AnnMarie Thomas focuses her research on design process and prototyping, and the ways creativity and play can enhance learning environments. She is the founder and director of the St. Thomas Playful Learning Lab, which invites students to look at engineering challenges through a playful lens. Working with St. Thomas undergrad students in the PLL, Thomas founded Squishy Circuits, a product that uses homemade play dough to demonstrate electrical properties and turns kids into circuit designers. The success of Squishy Circuits led to a popular TED talk.