Fellows Program
DSEF has long prioritized building productive relationships with leaders in the academic community to support programs that expand knowledge and understanding of business practices in the direct selling business model. By partnering with professors in a variety of disciplines, the Foundation educates academic leaders and influencers, as well as thousands of students about consumer, ethical, and entrepreneurship practices in the various aspects of direct selling business model, including manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Importantly, this outreach also counters myths and misunderstandings about the direct selling channel of distribution.

The 2016 formation of the DSEF Fellows program is an important step to deepen our connection to academic leaders who are committed to working with the Foundation to advance knowledge in their field of study and increase the impact and reach of our academic programs.

What is a DSEF Fellow?

DSEF Fellows are given a three-year opportunity to work with the Foundation and industry executives to gain deeper insights into this channel of distribution, both as a go-to-market business strategy and pathway to micro-entrepreneurship. More specifically, Fellows are currently made up of university and community college professors with specialties that typically fall within the areas of business, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, ethics, consumer studies and other related fields.

If you’re currently a university or community college professor interested in becoming a Fellow, we’d love to answer any questions you may have. First, don’t think that there are arduous requirements to serve as a DSEF Fellow. You may still have questions about direct selling, and that’s perfectly fine. Fellows need only be interested in learning about direct selling as a channel of distribution and a business platform for entrepreneurs. As you become more familiar with direct selling, we hope you utilize the tools and resources we provide to help you easily incorporate direct selling into your classroom, including it in your discussions with students and colleagues.

As a Fellow, you can also network with colleagues and direct selling companies corporate executives through our Fellows Learning Journeys at industry events. And, if you’re interested in more, we have many partnership opportunities. Research projects, campus events, development of classroom content, case studies and experiential learning opportunities for students … We welcome your involvement at whatever level you’re most comfortable.

Benefits and Opportunities

DSEF Fellows will receive the following benefits through their participation in the program:

  • Access to industry research, data, trends and innovations to support writing, publishing and academic research
  • Networking with industry executives and academic colleagues with similar interests, both in the US and abroad
  • Improved connections between academic programs and the business community
  • Periodic communications, including the DSEF newsletter, curated articles of interest and other items of relevance in their respective fields of expertise.
  • Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) within academic organizations that focus on issues relevant to direct selling
  • Free subscription to Direct Selling News, an independent industry trade journal
  • Teaching content (direct selling-specific online modules, industry case studies, industry data, guest speakers)
  • Experiential learning opportunities for professors and students (by working with direct selling company executives to address business challenges)
  • Access to the DSEF Speakers Bureau of leading executives of significant national companies
  • Recognition and important resume accomplishments
  • Eligibility to compete for awards to support research projects
  • Career opportunities for students (internships, corporate jobs, entrepreneurship skills development)
  • Business ethics and corporate social responsibility expertise
  • Eligibility to serve on the Academic Advisory Council (AAC). AAC members serve as strategic advisors to the DSEF Board of Directors.

DSEF Fellows Activities Include:

  • Developing a six-part series of online teaching modules that will serve as the core of our content for Fellows and other educators. These modules will cover direct selling as a go-to-market business strategy and pathway to micro-entrepreneurship
  • Incorporating direct selling entrepreneur content into teaching materials used in classes
  • Writing, publishing and research directly or indirectly related to direct selling, based on information gained in Ambassador affiliation
  • Hosting campus events to expose students and colleagues to the channel, micro-entrepreneurs and company executives
  • Participating in research surveys and other industry information gathering processes
  • Participating in executive roundtables on key industry issues
  • All of these benefits and others will come through participation in industry-wide events, including:
    • DSA Companies in Focus
    • DSA Annual Sales and Marketing Conference
    • DSA Annual Meeting
    • Various DSA events globally
    • DSEF Fellow’s Dinner at an academic organization partner event (including DSEF Fellows research

Who Can Join?

Membership is open to part-time and full-time university faculty.

For more information, contact DSEF Senior Director of Academic Initiatives, Kimberly Harris Bliton, at khbliton@dsef.org or call 202.416.6407

Entrepreneurship and community college faculty may contact DSEF Chief of Entrepreneurship Initiatives, Nancy Laichas at nlaichas@dsef.org or call 202.416.6438.