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Expanding and Evolving an Innovation Concentration

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Karl D. Schubert FIET University of Arkansas Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Karl D. Schubert is a Research Professor and Director of Research for Innovation and Data Science Initiatives for the College of Engineering and the Sam M. Walton College of Business in the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. His academic research focuses on providing Innovation programs for STEM education; and, student, faculty and industry innovation engagement. Schubert also serves as a consultant specializing in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and organizational optimization for new and ongoing companies. Karl earned his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the U of A, his master's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D. in Engineering from the U of A. Karl has been awarded 9 US and International patents and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET). He also has 35 years of industry experience including serving as a CIO, CTO and COO for start-ups, mid-size, and enterprise companies such as IBM, Dell and Lifetouch.

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Leslie Bartsch Massey University of Arkansas

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Leslie Massey is an instructor in the First-Year Engineering Program at the University of Arkansas. She received her BS in Biological Engineering and MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arkansas. She previously served as a project manager at a water resources center, but returned to the University of Arkansas to teach general Introduction to Engineering and to coordinator for the First-Year Honors Innovation Experience.

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Alan E. Ellstrand University of Arkansas

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Alan Ellstrand is the Associate Dean for Programs and Research in the Walton College of Business. He is also a professor in Management. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University, and has an MBA degree in Strategic Management from Northern Illinois University. He also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois. His major areas of research include corporate governance, top management teams, and executive leadership. He has published his work in journals including the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of Management and Organization Science. His teaching interests include strategic management, international management, and innovation and creativity and he has taught at the undergraduate, MBA, and Ph. D. levels. He has received several awards including the University of Arkansas Alumni Association Award for Teaching and Service, the Walton College Award for Outstanding Service and the Walton College Outstanding All Around Faculty Award. Prior to serving as Associate Dean, Dr. Ellstrand was Department Chair for the Department of Management and was the Director of MBA Programs for the Walton College.

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A recent report published by the --- Foundation documented the importance of innovation to the US economy and the critical relationship between innovation, university research and education for workforce development and economic prosperity. To develop an innovation-based ecosystem, the US must produce more STEM graduates capable of driving innovation. “At the heart of an innovative local ecosystem is its capacity to absorb new knowledge for industrial use. Industrial innovation is defined by the capability and propensity to engage, translate, absorb and exploit new knowledge and the active participation of a university, including facilities, faculty, staff and students who can aid this process.” Developing an Innovation Concentration focuses on the faculty, students, outcomes and curriculum to create graduates who can engage, translate, absorb and exploit this new knowledge and who can begin to do so along the way.

To fulfill this need, a pilot program has begun, collaboratively developed by the ----- College of Engineering (CoE) and the ---- College of Business (----) at the ----. The program is designed to be a scalable, repeatable, multi-college, interdisciplinary academic and experiential learning-based innovation track and is in its third year. Starting in this third year, first-year engineering students are now partnered with business students to focus on innovation principles and processes, while incorporating classroom content with hands-on experiences to focus on new the innovation process and new product development. Students from both colleges learn why innovation matters, how to work together to create innovation, and how to solve problems that have market demand. Also in this third year, for a second year senior design/capstone engineering and business students are partnered and are exposed to a broader innovation climate, partnering with regional humanitarian, engineering and technology industries in a manner that can serve as a model for expansion and for other institutions. As also noted in the report, “Regions with weak innovation outcomes tend to be those that are organizationally and institutionally ‘thin.’ Regions must encourage/demand that their universities participate in the network-based relationships and contribute to the institutional arrangements to promote innovation outcomes that can be deployed in the marketplace.”

The CoE and (----) will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate and iteratively improve the program with the overall objective of attracting, retaining, and graduating students who are capable of innovating in a realistic, commercializing environment. These students will enter the workforce better prepared to improve the economic health and competitiveness of the US.

This paper focuses on the strategy, design and development of this program, lessons learned, and plans for evolution and expansion for the future.

Schubert, K. D., & Massey, L. B., & Ellstrand, A. E. (2019, June), Expanding and Evolving an Innovation Concentration Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32787

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