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Entrepreneurship programs in higher education are typically housed under the umbrella of a business department or an engineering department. Within these departments and, within their university ecosystems more broadly, an oft stated goal is to develop within their students an “Entrepreneurial Mindset”. However, this is often a somewhat nebulously defined concept. Many definitions of the Entrepreneurial Mindset include a mish-mash of skills, cognitive processes, habits, and worldviews. While this broad conceptualization of a mindset can be useful in marketing terminology, it lacks the specificity needed to allow for rigorous assessment. This Work-In-Progress paper will explore one approach to developing a rigorous definition of the Entrepreneurial Mindset as a cognitive construct, a method for quantitatively measuring development of the mindset through students’ journey through an entrepreneurship program, and methods for qualitative analysis to better understand the nuances of how student perceptions, actions, and behavioral changes as they relate to entrepreneurial experiences within higher education. For entrepreneurship programs to have meaningful impact it is vital that they clearly define the mindset they are trying to instill in students. Further, these programs require a clear definition of the Entrepreneurial Mindset in order to engage in quality assessment of the educational impacts their programs are having. These two factors, clear definition of the desired mindset and high-quality assessment, must be present to allow for self-reflection on program impacts and to provide a framework for determining educational outcomes.
We will present survey instruments for assessing the Entrepreneurial Mindset, or at least our definition of the Entrepreneurial Mindset, a semi-structured interview protocol, methodology for determining the vision of the Entrepreneurial Mindset that most applies to a given institution, and finally the initial analysis of 213 pre/post surveys collected during the fall semester 2021. Initial results are positive and significant for one of the three courses where the survey was deployed. The remaining two courses with substantially smaller class sizes have not yet reached a sufficiently large dataset to draw conclusions from. We will also discuss how inclusivity, race, and gender considerations can help guide the creation of instruments and definitions related to the Entrepreneurial Mindset. These assessment instruments were all deployed at a large public university in the Midwest region of the United States in 2020-2022.
Wigner, A., & Kuang, S., & Miceli, K. (2022, August), Assessing Entrepreneurial Mindsets – A Work-In-Progress paper exploring how to create and deploy quantitative and qualitative assessments for student entrepreneurial mindset development Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41558
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