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Developing the Entrepreneurial Self: Integrating Professional Growth in an Engineering Design and Entrepreneurship Course Sequence

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


David G. Novick University of Texas, El Paso

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David G. Novick, Mike Loya Distinguished Chair in Engineering and Professor of Engineering Education and Leadership, earned his Harvard University in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science at the University of Oregon in 1988. Before coming to UTEP he was on the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Oregon Graduate Institute and then Director of Research at the European Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Engineering. At UTEP he has served in a number of positions including as Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Associate Provost, Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research, and co-director of the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce. His research focuses on interactive systems, especially human interaction with intelligent virtual agents, and on interaction in support of innovation. He served as General Co-chair of the ACM Conference on Universal Usability 2000, Program Chair of ACM SIG-DOC 2003 and General Chair of ACM SIG-DOC 2007, and organized SIGCHI's series of events in Natural Language Interfaces. He has authored or co-authored over 120 refereed publications and over $16 million in funded grant proposals.

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Meagan R. Kendall University of Texas, El Paso

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An Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, Dr. Meagan R. Kendall is helping develop a new Engineering Leadership Program to enable students to bridge the gap between traditional engineering education and what they will really experience in industry. With a background in both engineering education and design thinking, her research focuses on how Hispanic students develop an identity as an engineer, methods for enhancing student motivation, and methods for involving students in curriculum development and teaching through Peer Designed Instruction.

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Our department has a required two-course sequence at the junior level covering engineering design and engineering entrepreneurship. These are project-based courses with Lean Launchpad and I-Corps as principal inspirations for their curriculum and delivery. We aim to instill entrepreneurial skills and values in all of our majors, and many choose our program precisely because they are interested in entrepreneurial careers. But while our students learned a great deal about product-market fit, design, and business models, the course lacked content that provided direct learning about the students’ aspirations, professional growth, career planning. To address this gap, we have integrated design thinking about the students’ own lives into the formal content of the course. Using “Designing Your Life” (2016) as one of our textbooks, we developed design and entrepreneurship modules that complemented the course’s curriculum on design and entrepreneurship for start-ups. We are using “Business Model You” (2012) to help the students apply the business canvas model to their careers, just as the students are working on the “market” quadrant of the Innovation Canvas (Kline et al., 2014). The supporting texts parallel the engineering design and engineering entrepreneurship content of the course sequence’s two semesters. By the end of the two-course sequence, students will have developed a life plan, interviewed role models, developed a career-support team, and applied hypothesis testing toward shaping their futures.

We are now in the second year of applying this model in our course sequence. Based on interviews with two student cohorts, we will report on the extent to which this approach actually made a difference in students’ planning and life choices, and will discuss the kinds of decisions and actions students have taken as a result.


Burnett, B., and Evans, D. (2016). Designing your life. Knopf.

Clark, T., Osterwald, A., and Pigneur, Y. (2012). Business model you: A one-page method for reinventing your career. John Wiley & Sons.

Kline, W. A., Hixson, C. A., Mason, T. W., Brackin, P., Bunch, R. M., Dee, K. C., & Livesay, G. A. (2014). The Innovation Canvas in entrepreneurship education: Integrating themes of design, value, and market success. The Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 80-99.

Novick, D. G., & Kendall, M. R. (2018, June), Developing the Entrepreneurial Self: Integrating Professional Growth in an Engineering Design and Entrepreneurship Course Sequence Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30313

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