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Developing a Conceptual Framework to Understand Student Participation in Entrepreneurship Education Programs

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Prateek Shekhar University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

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Prateek Shekhar is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan. His research is focused on examining translation of engineering education research in practice, assessment and evaluation of dissemination initiatives and educational programs in engineering disciplines. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California and B.S. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India.

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Aileen Huang-Saad University of Michigan

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Aileen is faculty in Engineering Education and Biomedical Engineering. Previously, Aileen was the Associate Director for Academics in the Center for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for building the Program in Entrepreneurship for UM undergraduates, co-developing the masters level entrepreneurship program, and launching the biomedical engineering graduate design program. Aileen has received a number of awards for her teaching, including the Thomas M. Sawyer, Jr. Teaching Award, the UM ASEE Outstanding Professor Award and the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award. Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty, she worked in the private sector gaining experience in biotech, defense, and medical device testing at large companies and start-ups. Aileen’s current research areas include entrepreneurship engineering education, impact and engaged learning. Aileen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate of Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Aileen is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Sigma Gamma.

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Julie Libarkin Michigan State University

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Dr. Libarkin is a Professor oat Michigan State University. Currently, her research focuses on model-driven research design, community-engaged research and mentoring to a) investigate how people perceive, understand, and make decisions about the planet in order to b) address access, inclusion, equity, and justice in STEM and academia.

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The importance of fostering innovativeness and creativity in graduates has been widely noted in national calls and accreditation reforms to enhance graduates’ competitiveness in theglobal economy. As a result, universities and other higher education institutions have initiated curricular and pedagogical reforms to create learning environments that are conducive for the attainment of 21st century skills such as innovativeness, teamwork, communication, problem-solving and creativity. In engineering, among other initiatives, colleges and schools have leveraged entrepreneurship education programs (EEPs) to instill some of these needed skills in graduates. Although these EEPs differ in size, structure, pedagogical approaches, and curriculum, they generally focus on fostering entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviors, as well as teaching fundamental business content.

The development of EEPs in engineering colleges and universities has led to the creation of engineering entrepreneurship as a new area of inquiry in engineering education research. Researchers have examined several aspects of EEPs such as student learning, student career choices, attitudes, and retention. However, two critical gaps remain in the literature. First, there is an overall lack of research which leverages theory in their examinations. Second, there is almost no work examining the factors that influence engineering students’ decision to enroll in EEPs. As EEPs continue to grow and evolve, it becomes imperative to assure that EEPs cater to a diverse student population and that research revolving around EEPs is grounded in strong theoretical underpinnings.

This paper presents an overview of our work that focuses on examining engineering students’ participation in EEPs using entrepreneurship assessment and adult participation theories. The purpose of our paper is to provide a methodological resource for researchers interested in conducting theory-driven engineering entrepreneurship research. We present the three phases of our work on the development of a conceptual framework for understanding student participation in EEPs. Our conceptual framework is guided by the Cross Chain-Of-Response Model of Adult Learning. We explicate our approach involving the identification of key theories in entrepreneurship assessment through a systematic review of the literature (Phase 1), synthesis of the theories into a conceptual model (Phase 2), and validation and revision of factor definitions based on student interview data. Our work identified six factors that inform student participation in EEPs –entrepreneurial self-efficacy, desirability, entrepreneurial intent, life transitions, information and resources, opportunities and barriers. Recommendations for engineeringeducation researchers and implications for entrepreneurship education research are offered.

Shekhar, P., & Huang-Saad, A., & Libarkin, J. (2019, June), Developing a Conceptual Framework to Understand Student Participation in Entrepreneurship Education Programs Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32630

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