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Assessment of a New University-Wide Entrepreneurship and Innovation Minor

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Research Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.211.1 - 24.211.11



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Paper Authors


Philip M. Reeves The Pennsylvania State University

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Philip Reeves is a graduate student in the educational psychology department at Penn State. He is working with faculty to evaluate a new university-wide entrepreneurship and innovation minor as a graduate assistant for the Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education.

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Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Sarah Zappe is a research associate and director of assessment and instructional support in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement and testing. In her position, Sarah is responsible for developing instructional support programs for faculty, providing evaluation support for educational proposals and projects, and working with faculty to publish educational research. Her research interests primarily involve creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.

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Elizabeth C. Kisenwether Pennsylvania State University, University Park


D. Jake Follmer The Pennsylvania State University

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D. Jake Follmer is a first-year Ph.D. student in educational psychology at Pennsylvania State University. He received his M.S.Ed. in 2013 from Bucknell University with certification in school psychology. He received his B.A. in psychology in 2010 from Lycoming College. His interests are in the areas of learning, assessment, and cognition. His research interests lie in the areas of self-regulation, metacognition, executive function, and problem solving.

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Jessica Menold Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Jessica Menold is a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. As an undergraduate at Penn State she was heavily involved with a STEM outreach program called the engineering ambassadors. She currently works as a graduate mentor for entrepreneurial student groups on campus as a part of Penn State’s Lion Launch Pad team. Her interests in entrepreneurs, as well as engineering education, has led her to the study of innovation in engineers, working with Dr. Kathryn Jablokow. Her current research focuses on understanding innovation in engineering professionals and students, and she is collaborating with a team at Purdue to create a tool to measure innovativeness among engineers.

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Assessment of a New University-Wide Entrepreneurship Minor The assessment plan of a new entrepreneur and innovation focused inter-college minor ata large, Mid-Atlantic university will be discussed. The new minor, which previously existedonly within the College of Engineering, has expanded to include five tracks or clusters, whichinclude emphases on Technology-Based Entrepreneurship, New Media, Food and Bio-Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship, and New Venture. The overall goal of the assessment is totrack the students’ progress, knowledge, skill development, and attitudinal changes as theyproceed through the minor and begin their careers. This paper will detail the current assessmentplan and provides preliminary results on the impact of the courses on students’ attitudes and self-efficacy. Other individuals interested in assessment of entrepreneurship programs, includingthose housed solely in engineering or those that are cross-disciplinary, may find this paper ofinterest. As the first step in this process, students from the core classes of the minor were asked tocomplete a survey near the beginning of the semester to capture their current attitudes and skillsrelating to entrepreneurship and innovation. A vast majority of the students (125 out of 140)who completed the survey were enrolled in their first entrepreneurially focused class. As aresult, the survey responses provide a unique opportunity to examine students’ initial thoughtsabout entrepreneurship and innovation, which will serve as a baseline for future assessments. Inthe current survey, students were asked to provide their personal definition of entrepreneurshipand innovation, rate the importance of several entrepreneurial skills, indicate whetherentrepreneurial and innovation skills were innate or learned, and complete a measure ofentrepreneurial self-efficacy and creative self-efficacy. Preliminary results demonstrate that the students believe that entrepreneurial andinnovative skills can be both learned and innate. Additionally, the students rated the followingentrepreneurial skills as the most important: the ability to recognize opportunities, the ability toact on opportunities, persistence, creativity, communication skills, and their belief in their abilityto succeed. Since most of students were just beginning to learn about entrepreneurship andinnovation in an academic setting, an analysis was conducted to determine if any differencesexisted between students who had previously been exposed to entrepreneurial or innovativeactivities outside the classroom either as a result of working on their own product or venture orbeing related to an entrepreneur. ANOVA results show that students who are currently workingon a new product or venture have a higher mean on the entrepreneurial self efficacy scale (F1, 122=12.607, p=.001) and the creative self efficacy scale (F1, 132 =21.400, p=.001) and whencompared to students who are not currently working on a new product or venture. A similar survey will be distributed to the same students near the end of the semester andresponses will be analyzed across time. Students who continue to progress through the minorwill be assessed throughout the program. Distinctions between students pursuingentrepreneurship in the different clusters (i.e. engineering versus new media) will be analyzed.Student responses will be used to improve the entrepreneurship and innovation minor.

Reeves, P. M., & Zappe, S. E., & Kisenwether, E. C., & Follmer, D. J., & Menold, J. (2014, June), Assessment of a New University-Wide Entrepreneurship and Innovation Minor Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20102

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