June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
24.288.1 - 24.288.30
Combining Discipline-specific Introduction to Engineering Courses into a Single Multi-discipline course to Foster the Entrepreneurial MindsetThis paper focuses on two initiatives: fostering the entrepreneurial mindset in the first yearintroduction to engineering course and successfully combining discipline-specific courses into amulti-discipline course.While most first year introduction to engineering courses focus on design and problem solving,at the same time familiarizing the student with basic technical content, very few also focus on theentrepreneurial mindset – a way of thinking increasingly required of engineers entering theworkforce. Skills associated with the entrepreneurial mindset such as effective communication(written, verbal, and graphical), teamwork, ethics and ethical decision-making, customerawareness, persistence, creativity, innovation, time management, critical thinking, globalawareness, self-directed research, life-long learning, learning through failure, tolerance forambiguity, and estimation are as important in the workforce as technical aptitude. In fact,employer feedback has indicated that graduates with these skills are more highly sought thanthose with an overly technical education since technical engineering skills can be readilyobtained on the job; the entrepreneurial mindset takes years of practice/refinement. Althoughstudents may eventually begin practicing many entrepreneurial mindset skills in the curriculumespecially during a senior project sequence, it is paramount that the importance of theentrepreneurial mindset is stressed in the first year. This paper will include details of how tointegrate all of the skills listed here into well-established design projects, homework, and activelearning classroom modules in a first year engineering course. Direct assessment (using rubrics)and indirect assessment (using student surveys) for some of these skills reveals successfulstudent outcomes.As the lines between engineering disciplines are becoming more blurry, employers also covetengineering graduates whose technical skills span a variety of disciplines. Engineers must workon teams that are diverse, and being able to understand and communicate the broad field ofengineering is vital to success. Therefore, while completing an engineering degree, studentsneed to become familiar with a multitude of engineering disciplines and work with students frommany departments. This is not a new concept and many introduction to engineering courses areinterdisciplinary. On the other hand, many colleges still contain only discipline-specificintroduction to engineering courses. Over the past year and a half, Lawrence TechnologicalUniversity underwent a successful college-wide transition from many discipline-specificintroduction to engineering courses to a multi-discipline course. This paper will outline keys to asuccessful transition including pitfalls to avoid and working with university administrators,faculty, and staff during the transition.
Gerhart, A. L., & Carpenter, D. D., & Fletcher, R. W., & Meyer, E. G. (2014, June), Combining Discipline-specific Introduction to Engineering Courses into a Single Multidiscipline Course to Foster the Entrepreneurial Mindset with Entrepreneurially Minded Learning Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20179
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