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Developing An Extension For Engineering Education: Testing The Entrepreneurial Skills Of Key Participants

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Improving Student Entrepreneurial Skills

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.381.1 - 15.381.21



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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Santarelli Cal State Fresno

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Developing an Extension for Engineering Education: Testing the Entrepreneurial Skills of Key Participants Abstract

The development of an engineering education extension in high desert of California is testing the entrepreneurial skills of the key participants due to several factors exacerbated by the State’s budget crisis. A unique approach to provide ABET accredited undergraduate engineering education for the residents and the industry of the Greater Antelope Valley and adjacent regions has evolved, out of the regional desire to train engineers locally, without a thorough understanding of customer needs. A realistic model for higher education suggested by Maguad has been adopted that views employers as the customer and students as the higher education product. Understanding who the customers are is the crucial first step, according to Drucker, in understanding customer needs.

Guided by Dewey’s and Tyler’s works on curriculum development, an exploratory mixed- methods study was initiated to identify customer needs. This was a sequential-explanatory study. The initial phase was quantitative and defined critical cases that informed the qualitative phase. The qualitative phase had two components. The first component was long interviews with senior managers or executives from organizations purposefully selected to participate based on the critical case identification from the first phase of the study. The second component was integration and synthesis of existing data and the findings derived from the interviews. The final result of the study was a force-field analysis that provided the basis for recommendations that will guide decision making relative to curriculum and program development designed specifically to address regional industry needs. This paper will discuss the research method, results, and the issues that the study revealed relative to industry needs as well as the structure and status of the program as it currently exists and the plans that have been derived from the recommendations that resulted from the study. This paper will also discuss recent events that are redefining the effort and the application of experience gained to entrepreneurial education in engineering.


Traditionally, entrepreneurship in higher education has been associated with research- intensive efforts1. Entrepreneurship in higher education has also been linked with innovation and economic development exemplified by the Massachusetts route 128 corridor, the North Carolina Research Triangle, and the Silicon Valley in California2. More recently, entrepreneurship has been linked with efforts to create social value resulting in what is commonly referred to as social entrepreneurship. The key feature of social entrepreneurship is the focus of an entrepreneur on advancing a social mission over the creation of economic wealth3. Recent events relating to the longevity of an engineering extension development effort underway since 2004 have created a situation that is testing the entrepreneurial skills of key participants in an industry/education/government consortium.

The events that have beset the engineering extension are that the university that operates the extension has determined that the effort must be phased-out over a four semester period and

Santarelli, K. (2010, June), Developing An Extension For Engineering Education: Testing The Entrepreneurial Skills Of Key Participants Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15667

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