August 23, 2022
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Abstract Previous research attests to the fact that universities have unique strength that allows them to play a significant role in the process of innovation commercialization. Innovation commercialization seeks to transform products/services from the laboratory to the marketplace or the end-user. The number of commercialized innovations by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – originally established mainly as teaching and blue-collar trade institutions to educate African Americans – is significantly lower than their non-HBCUs counterparts (specifically, Predominately White Institutions – PWIs). This is largely because HBCUs have been traditionally under-served and under-resourced. To bridge this gap, HBCUs are promoting entrepreneurial training and mindset through changes in engineering education programs and curriculum. For instance, federally funded programs like the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and NSF I-Corps promote the education and training of innovators on commercialization of innovations at HBCUs. Little Research has been done to investigate the level of awareness of engineering graduate students at an HBCU. The purpose of this study is to assess the level of awareness of engineering graduate students at an HBCU about innovation commercialization.
In this study, we conducted a survey using a questionnaire-based data collection method that focused only on engineering graduate students at the University of the District of Columbia. We used both binary and ordinal scales, where we ask questions first using a binary scale, such that If an answer is “Yes” then we follow it with another question using an ordinal scale that is whether awareness level is low, average, or high. The study population of interest includes 15 engineering graduate students at the institution.
The results from this study have been analyzed using participants' responses to the questionnaire and aggregating these responses to identify patterns. The results showed general low level of awareness and understanding of innovation commercialization processes. These patterns will be discussed in detail to illuminate the level of awareness about innovation commercialization in HBCUs. We are using the results of this study to provide useful guidelines and framework for HBCUs leadership to initiate programs to promote innovation commercialization, especially for engineering innovators. We intend to conduct further surveys in another study to cover engineering undergraduate students and subsequently faculty and administrative staff of an HBCU, to assess their level of awareness of innovation commercialization.
Keywords: innovation commercialization, engineering student, engineering education, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Addo, S., & Tyagi, P., & Mutunga, E. (2022, August), Assessing Awareness level of Engineering Graduate Students about Innovation Commercialization at Historically Black Colleges and Universities Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41554
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