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Entrepreneurship Program Assessment By Student Outcome

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Education: Assessment and Integrating Entrepreneurship into the Curriculum

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.581.1 - 14.581.14

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Paper Authors

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Hak Tam University of California, Santa Barbara

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Gary Hansen University of California, Santa Barbara

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Sally Blomstrom Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Peter Robinson Utah Valley University

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


Harvard Business School offered the first course in entrepreneurship in 1947. Today most of the AACSB-accredited business schools offer programs in entrepreneurship 1. With innovations emanating from the science and technology areas, entrepreneurship education has also migrated to engineering schools 2-7. This seems to be a logical development. In fact, it has been reported that engineering entrepreneurship graduates have more new business start-ups than their business school counter-parts 8.

Meanwhile, educators have voiced different opinions on what should be taught in entrepreneurship programs 9-12. The modality of delivery and the objectives of entrepreneurship education is another area of lively discussion 11-18. Learning style is a much covered field in education 19. Matching teaching with learning style has also been addressed in the literature 20. While it is important that there is substantive content in any educational program, perhaps the more interesting question for educators in this discipline is how to structure the curriculum and pedagogy to ignite or reinforce entrepreneurial attitudes. This might well be the most important attribute that an entrepreneurship educational program can instill in the students. Entrepreneurship education should cause students to think, feel, and act entrepreneurial; to eventually become entrepreneurs.

As we attempt to assess an entrepreneurship education program, we frame our research question around: Does entrepreneurship education make students more entrepreneurial? The operational parameter we chose to measure is entrepreneurial attitude. To inform practice, we also explored the respective contribution of curriculum, pedagogy, and instructional environment in facilitating changes in the students’ entrepreneurial attitude. Educators in this field have tacit knowledge that instructional technique matters. We would like to introduce an assessment approach to make visible an important learning outcome unique to this discipline.

Background of the study

This program assessment research is a collaboration between the School of Education and the Technology Management Program (TMP) embedded in the College of Engineering at a tier- one research university. While the institution is highly ranked and has many exemplary programs, it does not have a business school. The Technology Management Program which is designed to teach students how to commercialize technology becomes the de-facto program for students to learn about innovation, technology management and entrepreneurship. The courses are open to all enrolled upperclassmen which resulted in a multi-disciplinary student body. The curriculum and extra-curricular activities approach innovation and commercial feasibility using real-world data, supported by lecturers and mentors from the field. The faculty is primarily made up of adjunct professors and lecturers who have extensive business and venture experience. A mix of pedagogy is employed, including didactic instruction, guest speakers, entrepreneurship workshops, business plan competition, and internship in start-ups and technology enterprises.

Tam, H., & Hansen, G., & Blomstrom, S., & Robinson, P. (2009, June), Entrepreneurship Program Assessment By Student Outcome Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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