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Addressing Convergent Problems with Entrepreneurially-Minded Learning

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Stu Thompson Bucknell University

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Stu is an associate professor and chair of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, PA. While his teaching responsibilities typically include digital design, computer-related electives, and senior design, his focus

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Alan Cheville Bucknell University

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Alan Cheville studied optoelectronics and ultrafast optics at Rice University before joining Oklahoma State University working on terahertz frequencies and engineering education. While at Oklahoma State he developed courses in photonics and engineering design. After serving for two and a half years as a program director in engineering education at the National Science Foundation, he became chair of the ECE Department at Bucknell University. He is currently interested in engineering design education, engineering education policy, and the philosophy of engineering education.

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Jason Forsyth James Madison University

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Jason Forsyth is an Associate Professor of Engineering at James Madison University. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech in May 2015. His major research interests are in wearable/ubiquitous computing and engineering education. Previously he was an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at York College of Pennsylvania from 2015 – 2018.

His wearable computing work develops safety systems that provide continuous monitoring and sensing to protect human life. Previous work examined the role of wearable pulse oximetry in protecting construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning and developing a warning system for road-side workers and emergency personnel to estimate potential vehicle strikes. His current research interests focus on on-body human activity recognition and interactive machine learning for physical therapy patients and practitioners to increase exercise adherence and clinical evaluation.

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In this paper we explore the ability of educational frameworks focused on developing the entrepreneurial mindset to be used to develop students’ abilities to approach convergent problems. While there is not a single widely accepted definition of convergence, there are some general aspects noted by the NSF including: socially relevant, multidisciplinary, complex, and not being adequately addressed by current methods and practices. Convergent problems require existing disciplines to collaborate to create new knowledge, skills, and approaches in order to be appropriately addressed. We believe that there are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and the learning of it that can support the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to approach convergent problems. This is relevant because most work on convergent problems happens at the graduate level and beyond and our interest is to create experiences for undergraduates that prepare them to embark on this work after graduation.

This study maps entrepreneurial mindset learning (EML) onto a framework based on prior work on convergence to identify the aspects of EML that directly support convergence work or preparation for convergence work. The existing dataset of KEEN cards is used as a proxy for existing work in this space, as well.

If existing work in EML can address some or all of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for convergent problem solving then engineering educators have a set of tools and practices that can contribute towards creating engineers who are better prepared to work on the hard problems of tomorrow.

Thompson, S., & Cheville, A., & Forsyth, J. (2022, August), Addressing Convergent Problems with Entrepreneurially-Minded Learning Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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