June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
12.632.1 - 12.632.15
Engineering Entrepreneurship for High School and Early College Students
Project Lead the Way, Inc.1 is a national pre-engineering curriculum that involves partnerships among public schools, higher education, and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating. More than 660 state high school students are currently enrolled in the curriculum. The Engineering Design and Development (EDD) module is a capstone course for senior high school students, focusing on invention and entrepreneurial skills. Dr. Karen High serves as a trainer for this course. The module includes innovation and invention, and shows students how to take engineering one step further.
A one-credit hour engineering orientation course was developed in the fall of 2006 that introduced engineering entrepreneurship to former Project The Lead the Way students— now enrolled as college freshman—as well as other freshman engineering students. Engineering and business faculty members, along with a focus group of entrepreneurs, were involved in the course’s development. At the beginning of the course, the design cycle for product and process innovation, as well as problem definition, was described. A number of outside business speakers provided insight into the world of entrepreneurship, including teamwork, intellectual property, business and marketing plans, international and social entrepreneurship, and ethics. The students engaged in critical thinking exercises and worked on projects to develop marketing and business plans for projects based on inventions. Examples of course curriculum, and retention and recruitment statistics, are presented.
The typical model of engineering education—students seek out a university for a technical education and then, in their senior year, seek out an established employer for a job—has not necessarily served the needs of the State of Oklahoma in recent years. Vast numbers of students who graduate with technical degrees from Oklahoma State University seek employment in surrounding states, particularly Gulf Coast states. As a result, Oklahoma’s higher educational system serves to support the economic well-being of neighboring states. This begs the question of whether a different model of technical education is needed at Oklahoma State University, one in which students are trained in entrepreneurial skills and, rather than seeking an employer as graduation draws near, begin businesses within the state or join entrepreneurial firms within the state.
It is unlikely that an entrepreneurial mindset of the required risk taking can be taught. But, it is likely that the skills required to make those with an inclination toward entrepreneurship more successful can be taught. In addition, a degree program that focuses on entrepreneurship might prove successful in: (1) attracting students into the engineering program who are seeking educational opportunities in entrepreneurship, or who might otherwise gravitate toward other majors and (2) fostering student creativity
High, K., & Rossler, P., & High, M. (2007, June), Engineering Entrepreneurship For High School And Early College Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2016
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