June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
22.632.1 - 22.632.8
AbstractEntrepreneurial Mindset Development in a Senior Design/Capstone CourseThere are many ways to organize a capstone for senior engineering students. Usually the goal is to givethem a significant design experience that will prepare them well for work following graduation.Sometimes the focus of a capstone course is on solving technical problems of an advanced technicalproject. Sometimes the focus is on getting the students to produce what an industry partner is hopingto see. Sometimes the focus is on giving the students a rich experience in how a team works together.Sometimes the focus is on the business side of projects and engineering. Sometimes the focus is oncovering material that doesn’t fit in any of the other regular courses. Most capstone courses try to formsome balance between these and other competing topics and expectations, but with ever-changingteaching faculty, it is difficult to have a well-packaged and delivered capstone course that is consistentfrom year to year.For the past several years at our institution, we have been exploring a number of ways to cohesivelybring our capstone experience together for the students and at the same time help our studentsdevelop an entrepreneurial mindset. It is not our goal to develop every student into an entrepreneur;our goal is to help all engineering students think like an entrepreneur when faced with multi-facetedproblems. Merriam-Webster defines and entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages, and assumesthe risks of a business or enterprise.” Engineering students who think like an entrepreneur should beable to not only recognize opportunities, but also have the tools to assess the opportunities. To do that,the students need a strong technical background; the students need to understand the language andworkings of business; students must understand who the customer is; and students need to appreciatethe operational values in each situation they encounter. We have allied ourselves with business facultysuch that all engineering students develop business plans for their projects and business students in anupper-level strategies course work with specific engineering design teams. This year we have alsobegun an emphasis on identifying the customer and responding to the customer’s needs, helping ourstudents think about the issues in a non-graded environment. Alumni, business faculty, and enterprisecenter personnel are involved in assessing the initial ideas that each senior design team is proposing. Inaddition, specific lectures have been prepared and given to the class that introduces the concept andvalue of having an entrepreneurial mindset.The paper will explore further the recent changes to our capstone course and provide some earlyfeedback from students and constituents on the changes. We plan to work with our advisory council toget their feedback on the proposed changes and plan to provide detailed questionnaires to the studentsat the end of the first and second semesters of the course.
Brouwer, R., & Sykes, A., & VanderLeest, S. H. (2011, June), Entrepreneurial Mindset Development in a Senior Design/Capstone Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17913
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