New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Although engineering students’ formal, curricular-based learning experiences may involve far more than the content included in their majors, little is known about the range of minors, certificates, and concentrations available to engineering students, much less the relationships between participating in these programs and affective and behavioral outcomes of interest to engineering educators. This study represents an initial investigation of these types of programs. Grounding this study is the Innovation Education Continuum Framework developed by Duval-Couetil and Dyrenfurth (2012). In this framework, being innovative can be divided into “Innovation Process” and “Innovation Outcomes” categories; “creativity” and “design” are considered Innovation Processes, whereas “business”, “entrepreneurship”, and “leadership” are considered Innovation Outcomes. The analyses in this paper examine engineering students’ participation in Process and Outcome minors, certificates, and concentrations, and the associations between participation, innovation self-efficacy, and gender. The primary research questions driving this study are: Is there a relationship between participation in academic innovation programs and improved innovation self-efficacy? Is there a difference in the types of self-efficacy exhibited by participants of Process and Outcomes programs?
The study draws from data collected as part of the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), a national survey administered in 2015 to engineering juniors and seniors across 27 U.S. universities, which received over 7,000 responses. Background questions concerning field of study indicate respondents were pursuing one of 39 unique engineering majors (or, for a small proportion of respondents, two engineering majors, or one engineering and one non-engineering major), as well as more than 2,500 concentrations within those majors. Respondents were also asked to write-in any minors or certificates pursued in order to generate a complete picture of students’ academic programs. Approximately 27% reported having a minor, and 36% reported having a certificate (percentages are not mutually exclusive). Concentrations, minors, and certificates were then categorized into Process and Outcome fields based on a keyword search of topics and competencies addressed in existing innovation courses. The most popular Process programs (79% of total programs) were related to design, human computer interaction, and product and process engineering; the most popular Outcomes programs (76% of total programs) were related to business, economics, and management. Women were no more/less than were men to participate in these specific types of programs. The EMS included a construct labeled Innovation Self-Efficacy; sample items include ability to generate new ideas, build a network of contacts, and ask questions (all measured on a 5-point scale, from 0 = “not confident” to 4 = “extremely confident”). A breakdown of responses for the self-efficacy questions suggests a relationship between Process and Outcomes program participation and higher self-efficacy. Implications for the relationship between participation in innovation programs and improved self-efficacy are discussed.
Cao, E., & Gilmartin, S. K., & Jin, Q., & Dungs, C. C., & Sheppard, S. (2016, June), Business Program Participation and Engineering Innovation: An Exploration of Engineering Students' Minors, Certificates, and Concentrations Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26418
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