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A Comprehensive Model For Integrating Entrepreneurship Education And Capstone Projects While Exceeding Abet Requirements

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Capstone Design and Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.32.1 - 11.32.17

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Paper Authors


John Ochs Lehigh University

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John B Ochs is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Lehigh and Director of the Integrated Product Development Program (IPD), which he co-founded with Dr. Watkins in 1994. He is the past chairman the Entrepreneurship division of the American Society for Engineering Education. From 1985-95 Dr. Ochs did extensive industry consulting and was involved in the start up of three companies. In 1996 the pilot courses IPD won the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ curriculum innovation award and in 1997 IPD won the Newcomen Society award for the promotion of America’s free-enterprise system. Dr. Ochs holds a MS and Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University.

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Gerard Lennon Lehigh University

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Gerard P. Lennon is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He earned a BS from Drexel University, and an MS and a PhD from Cornell University. He authored over 70 papers, and his groundwater research has been funded by five different federal and state agencies, including an NSF investigation of ocean-bottom geothermal vents in the Alvin Submarine. As a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers he organized an International Groundwater Symposium and was associate editor. He led his department ABET accreditation committee activities for eight years until taking over that role as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh in 2006, and is now the lead person in the college for accreditation activities.

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Todd Watkins Lehigh University

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Todd A. Watkins is Associate Professor in the College of Business and Economics and Director of the Institute for Regional Political Economy at Lehigh. He holds Ph.D. and M.P.P. degrees from Harvard and a B.S. from the University of Rochester. He previously worked in optical design and optical manufacturing engineering at Eastman Kodak. His research and teaching involves the economics of innovation, manufacturing and new product development. From 1999 to 2002, as the Faculty Fellow to the Provost, he was responsible for promoting innovative, inquiry-based curriculum campus wide. For seven consecutive years, teams advised by Dr. Watkins have won start-up grants in national competitions for collegiate technology entrepreneurship. He chaired the joint committee that developed the entrepreneurship minor described here.

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Graham Mitchell Lehigh University

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Graham R. Mitchell is a Professor of Practice and Director of the campus-wide Entrepreneurship minor program housed in Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics. From 1998 to 2003 Graham Mitchell was the Bladstrom Visiting Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Wharton Program in Technological Innovation. Between 1993 and 1997 he was United States Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy. Prior to that, he was for 12 years with the General Electric. A co-founder of a start up in wireless communication, he is a member of several boards. He is author of over 40 papers and studies on technology, management, and policy. He holds 7 U.S. patents, and is a recipient of several major honors. He holds a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Westminster, London.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Comprehensive Model for Integrating Entrepreneurship Education and Capstone Projects while Exceeding ABET Requirements Abstract Imagination, creativity, innovation, invention and venture--a sequence of professional development for 21st century renaissance engineers and technical entrepreneurial business people, designed to give engineering and business students the skill sets to compete in our global economy with its ever-increasing rate of technical and financial change. A technical entrepreneurship minor started at Lehigh University in the Fall 2004 semester is now in full swing and available to all undergraduates, including all engineering and business students. The five-course program includes two final project courses, which students can take as a capstone experience. To date, several pilot teams have successfully completed the sequence, completed their undergraduate engineering requirements and used the capstone courses to develop products and undertake business planning for their start up technical ventures. In addition to the courses in the entrepreneurship minor, infrastructure is in place to support a Student Entrepreneurship Competition in which student teams can develop prototypes and their ideas into business plan proposals for several sources of possible seed funding. The infrastructure includes a mentoring entrepreneurs’ network of Lehigh alumni, an on-campus student-start-up incubator, and new early-stage follow-up funding. This paper will describe the integration of the capstone courses with the entrepreneurship minor and show examples of student start-up companies from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Integrated Business and Engineering. The paper will explore how these companies started as part of the ABET-approved capstone design courses, which significantly exceed the minimum ABET requirement of a major design experience while working in a multidisciplinary team. This model is expanded to show how the plan can be applied to all engineering disciplines.

Introduction, Background and Rationale

Lehigh University

The 1,600 acre campus of Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, PA, 75 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia. The university is private, co- educational, non-denomination and serves 4,650 undergraduates and 1,980 graduate students with ~60% percent male and 40% female. Students are enrolled in 3 undergraduate colleges: arts and science (50%), business (20%), engineering (30%) with a graduate college of education. Lehigh is considered to be in the class of “highly selective” schools with a combined SAT scores ranging from 1210 to 1350 with over 50% of the student body receiving scholarships. The student body is from over 20 states and 65 countries with the majority of students coming from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. There are approximately 400 full-time faculty members with an 11:1 undergraduate student to faculty ratio. The University is a class R2 research

Ochs, J., & Lennon, G., & Watkins, T., & Mitchell, G. (2006, June), A Comprehensive Model For Integrating Entrepreneurship Education And Capstone Projects While Exceeding Abet Requirements Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

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