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An Evaluation Of The Engineering Entrepreneurs Program At North Carolina State University

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.64.1 - 1.64.5



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Paper Authors

author page

III, Thomas K. Miller

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Catherine E. Brawner

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

Session 3232

An Evaluation of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at North Carolina State University

Catherine E. Brawner, Thomas K. Miller, III North Carolina State University

The Engineering Entrepreneurs Program is an experimental course offered in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. This course is partly fi.mded by the Natiorxd Science Foundation (NSF) through its SUCCEED coalition. As part of the Early Design Megaproject, it is an attempt to bring engineering design to students early in their academic careers. The primary purpose of this evaluation is to determine how well the Entrepreneurs Program is meeting its objectives and other SUCCEED deliverables.

The approach to engineering education undertaken by the Entrepreneurs Program is relatively unusual in that it includes students at all academic levels participating on design teams. A few others have had success with a similar approach. Lil describes team oriented design projects at the University of Wisconsin-PlatteviUe which not only includes students at all academic levels, but is also interdisciplinary in nature by including students from both the Electrical Engineering and Chemistry departments. His course integrates product desig~ manufacturing 2 and marketing and includes interaction with local industry. Mason also describes his success with incorporating freshmen into the second semester of year-long senior design projects in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech.

This paper will include a course descriptio~ evaluation objectives, methodology, evaluation tlndings, and areas for program improvement.

Course Descx-btion

The philosophy of the Entrepreneurs Program is that real-world engineering consists of teams attempting to develop of successful products which are preceeded by many fhilures from which members of the team learn and improve. This is in contrast to most of the standard undergraduate engineering curriculum where success hinges on passing tests where there are defined “right” and “wrong” answers. In the Entrepreneurs Program at NCSU, groups of students form companies to try and make a product -- much like what would be done in a high-tech start-up company.

Within each group, the students organize themselves to handle the various aspects of running a high-tech business: research, development, productio~ marketing, etc.. They develop a project plan for the semester and work to achieve their stated goals. They present their ideas, progress, and products to the other students three times during the semester. At the end of the semester they are judged, not by tests, but by how well they achieved their objectives, how viable their product is, and the value of their contribution throughout the entire project.

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Miller, I. T. K., & Brawner, C. E. (1996, June), An Evaluation Of The Engineering Entrepreneurs Program At North Carolina State University Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6044

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