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Engineering Entrepreneurship: Does Entrepreneurship Have A Role In Engineering Education?

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.432.1 - 6.432.10

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Paper Authors

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Neal Armstrong

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Steven Nichols

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

Engineering Entrepreneurship: Does Entrepreneurship Have a Role in Engineering Education?

Steven P. Nichols, Neal E. Armstrong

College of Engineering The University of Texas at Austin


Many engineering programs have recently added courses and material on “Engineering Entrepreneurship”. These programs represent a diverse understanding of what engineering students should receive in the way of instruction in the area of entrepreneurship. This paper examines various definitions of engineering entrepreneurship and also examines the pedagogical justification for including entrepreneurship in engineering education.

The authors use as a context the engineering programs at The University of Texas at Austin, particularly the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The paper examines educational objectives and criteria discussed in documents produced by the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering International, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, and other sources to develop one approach for entrepreneurship education.

I. Introduction

The last 50 years have seen significant improvement in the education of engineering students. Since the Grinter report in 1952,1, 2 engineering education programs across the United States have undertaken to improve the educational experience of engineering undergraduates by seeking a rational mix of courses and educational experiences in science, engineering science, engineering analysis and engineering design. Prior to the Grinter report engineering education in the United States emphasized design with an insufficient mixture of science, engineering science, and engineering analysis.3 Engineering programs significantly increased the content of science and analysis courses over the last 50 years to provide a stronger analytical base for engineering practice.

Literature in the 1980's and 1990's includes articles recommending increased exposure for undergraduate engineering students in the area of design and creativity.4 Peterson argued that engineering sciences and engineering analysis had been segregated from engineering design to the extent that graduates are unable to apply their analytical skills to real problems.5 Engineering faculty have examined not only what and when topics and areas are taught to undergraduates,6 but also how these topics are taught.7

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education.

Armstrong, N., & Nichols, S. (2001, June), Engineering Entrepreneurship: Does Entrepreneurship Have A Role In Engineering Education? Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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