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A Qualitative Examination Of Faculty Beliefs Related To Entrepreneurship Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Leadership and Strategic Planning

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.79.1 - 15.79.18



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Paper Authors


Kirsten Hochstedt Pennsylvania State University

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Kirsten Hochstedt is a Graduate Assistant at the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education. She has received her Masters degree in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in educational and psychological measurement, at Penn State and is a doctoral candidate in the same program. The primary focus of her research concerns assessing the response structure of test scores using item response theory methodology.

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Elizabeth Kisenwether Pennsylvania State University


Sarah Zappe Pennsylvania State University

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Sarah E. Zappe, is Research Associate and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support for the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Pennsylvania State University. In her current position, Dr. Zappe is responsible for supporting curricular assessment and developing instructional support programs for faculty and teaching assistants in the College of Engineering. Her work in engineering education focuses on assessment, faculty development, and teaching and learning issues.

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Angela Shartrand National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

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Angela Shartrand is research and evaluation manager at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, a non-profit organization that supports technology entrepreneurship in U.S. colleges and universities. Her research focuses on understanding how to develop and sustain ecosystems that support innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Williams College.

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

A qualitative examination of faculty beliefs related to entrepreneurship education


As part of a larger NSF-funded research study, this paper begins to examine faculty members’ beliefs related to entrepreneurship education and how these beliefs may be translated into practice in entrepreneurship programs and courses. A total of 26 faculty members participated in a semi-structured interview to examine their beliefs related to entrepreneurship education. These faculty members came from one of three large research institutions having strong entrepreneurship programs for undergraduate students. The faculty members were from various disciplines including engineering, business, and others. The interview protocol included questions relating to faculty beliefs of entrepreneurship education focusing on the following:

1. How do faculty members define the entrepreneurial mindset, or the characteristics necessary to be entrepreneurs? 2. Do faculty members believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is something that can be developed? Or do they feel that certain characteristics necessary to be an entrepreneur are innate to the person? 3. How do faculty members teach entrepreneurship? Is there a relationship between the faculty beliefs and the way that they teach entrepreneurship?

We hypothesize that faculty members’ beliefs will vary and that these beliefs are directly tied to how courses are taught, influencing both course content and the use of specific instructional strategies. We also hypothesize that beliefs are influenced by various characteristics of the individual faculty members. The qualitative data collected in this study provides a starting point into understanding faculty beliefs and serves as a launching point for the next steps in the project.


In the past several decades, universities and colleges around the country have begun to implement programs in engineering schools dedicated to teaching students the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to become entrepreneurs. In 2003, Katz estimated that more than 1600 universities had established entrepreneurship programs in business, engineering, or as an interdisciplinary program.1 This number is continuing to grow, particularly in engineering colleges as the importance of entrepreneurial skills for engineering students is being recognized by a greater degree.

Ohland and colleagues2, who define entrepreneurship as “the initiation of new wealth-creating activities in response to a perceived market need, despite an element of risk and absent or inadequate resources,” list several reasons why engineering students need to be trained in skills relating to entrepreneurship. As the authors note, the perfect product design may not be successful if the designer is unable to use business knowledge and skills to find a “niche” in the marketplace. In addition, many graduates of engineering programs are finding work in start-up

Hochstedt, K., & Kisenwether, E., & Zappe, S., & Shartrand, A. (2010, June), A Qualitative Examination Of Faculty Beliefs Related To Entrepreneurship Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16095

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015