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Engineering Deans’ Perspectives on the Value of Entrepreneurial Thinking in Engineering Education

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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 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Mark V. Huerta Arizona State University

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Mark Huerta is a second year PhD student in the Engineering Education Systems & Design (EESD) program at Arizona State University. Mark is also the Chairman and Director of Projects of a non-profit called 33 Buckets, which empowers rural communities in developing countries to develop solutions for their drinking water problems. Before enrolling in the EESD program, Mark obtained a BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering at ASU.

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Jeremi S. London Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus

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Dr. Jeremi London is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Arizona State University in the Polytechnic School. London is a mixed methods researcher with interests in research impact, cyberlearning, and instructional change in STEM Education. Prior to ASU, London worked at the National Science Foundation, GE Healthcare, and Anheuser-Busch. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Ann F. McKenna Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus

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Ann F. McKenna is a Professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Director of The Polytechnic School at Arizona State University. Prior to joining ASU she served as a program director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education, and was on the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. McKenna received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

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The proliferation of entrepreneurship degree programs, centers, and on-campus programs implicitly signal that a variety of stakeholders are involved in advancing these efforts. Among these stakeholders are the deans of engineering colleges since they are primary agents for leading change efforts throughout an institutional context. To date, little literature has explored their perspectives on the value of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking within engineering. In this study, we present the results of conducting interviews with 23 deans of engineering colleges representing three types of institutions: R1 Public (8), R1/R2 Private (5), and primarily undergraduate-focused (10). During the 30-minute interviews, deans discussed how they onboard and support junior faculty, and the role of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking in engineering colleges. A thematic analysis of their responses revealed that, overall, engineering deans believe an entrepreneurial mindset can support both students and faculty, and expressed their desire to continue scaling their institutions' entrepreneurship initiatives. The findings indicate that deans value entrepreneurial mindset because of its potential to enhance many of the activities that occur within an institutional context. The findings of this study add to the body of literature on this topic by documenting the perspectives of critical change agents connected to this topic.

Huerta, M. V., & London, J. S., & McKenna, A. F. (2018, June), Engineering Deans’ Perspectives on the Value of Entrepreneurial Thinking in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30406

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