June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.560.1 - 11.560.9
Engineering Entrepreneurship Educational Experience (E4) Initiative: Bringing Entrepreneurship to the Undergraduate Classroom
Currently, internships and co-operative education agreements are used to move the student’s experience from the university to the private sector. This allows the students to gain some amount of experience in the private sector before graduation through short stays with industry. We are currently creating an alternate model. The Engineering Entrepreneurship Educational Experience (E4) initiative will bring private enterprise knowledge into the university. To this end, the Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering Technology programs at Texas A&M University are partnering with a small, local company to establish an initiative that will create an undergraduate entrepreneurial experience within the EET/TET curricula and stimulate collaboration between public and private sectors. The goal of E4 is to allow students to create product prototypes that can then be commercialized by an entity external to the University.
Using the current senior project sequence, the Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering Technology programs, through their faculty and student workforce, will be responsible for the “idea to prototype” phase of product/system development. The proof-of-concept prototype can then be transferred to the private industry partner who will be responsible for the “prototype to profit” phase. Because the partner is local, interested students can continue to participate in the process. Thus, students will be able to participate in all aspects of the “productization” cycle. The first phase of this project is complete and includes the conceptual design and planning activities. This paper presents the work that has been accomplished and discusses ongoing activities associated with E4.
Several different avenues currently exist to augment the education of undergraduate students within the private sector. Internships and co-operative agreements are two of the more common interactions that provide students a preliminary look at the world they will be working in after graduation. However, these avenues do little to provide young, energetic and capable men and women the opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, especially in small start-up environments. To address this issue, several institutions have begun offering coursework designed to introduce students to entrepreneurial concepts.1,2 However, while coursework is a good start, to effectively teach entrepreneurship to students the private sector must become an integral part of the educational curriculum with a long-term, vested interest in creating such an educational experience. One example where this methodology is being employed is at Brown University.3 Another more recent example, and the focus of this paper, involves the faculty and students of the Mobile Integrated Solutions Laboratory (MISL) at Texas A&M University where they have undertaken the Engineering Entrepreneurship Educational Experience (E4) initiative. This initiative includes a partnership between MISL and a newly formed, locally-based company. For purposes of this paper, this company will be called
Morgan, J., & Porter, J. (2006, June), Engineering Entrepreneurship Educational Experience (E4) Initiative: Bringing Entrepreneurship To The Undergraduate Classroom Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/269
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