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Assessing Engineering Entrepreneurship

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessment of Entrepreneurship Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.238.1 - 8.238.8



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Rzasa

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John Wise

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Elizabeth Kisenwether

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

Session ______

Assessing Engineering Entrepreneurship

John Wise, Elizabeth Kisenwether, Sarah Rzasa The Pennsylvania State University


Cross-disciplinary technology entrepreneurship programs are rapidly emerging in colleges and universities across the United States, as well as Europe and Asia. But what effect do these programs have on their students? How can these effects be measured? These questions are beginning to be answered in the new Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor at The Pennsylvania State University. We have brought together faculty from the colleges of engineering, business, and IST (Information Sciences and Technology) to develop a problem-based curriculum designed to encourage creativity, customer-oriented design, and to foster understanding of the entrepreneurial business world. This paper will present the outline and initial findings of our assessment plan. Lessons learned in the first 18 months of course offering will be shared, and recent improvements (inclusion of online portfolios and improved curriculum co-ordination between courses) are discussed.


Two years ago, Penn State applied for and received a grant from General Electric to develop an entrepreneurship minor within the College of Engineering. The original goals for assessment were as follows:

1. Are students more motivated and more likely to perform at higher levels than students who are not exposed to problem-based learning? 2. Are students more successful in tackling ambiguous problems and formulating their own approaches? 3. Are the students more likely to see the connections to aspects of problems outside those related to their individual discipline, especially business/finance aspects? 4. Do students exhibit better communication skills and facility in working in teams? 5. Are students acquiring and improving skills that will allow them to become successful entrepreneurs?

It became apparent through literature review and our own analysis that entrepreneurship encompasses two potential areas for evaluation: Tendencies or attributes possessed by the individual entrepreneur and knowledge or skills considered important to entrepreneurial success. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Rzasa, S., & Wise, J., & Kisenwether, E. (2003, June), Assessing Engineering Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12413

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