June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
26.746.1 - 26.746.27
What we don’t know about entrepreneurship education for engineersWho better to answer the question that frames this paper than a group of engineering educators,educational researchers, practicing entrepreneurs and innovators, and engineering students? Such agroup was convened under the sponsorship of the NSF-funded National Center for EngineeringPathways to Innovation (Epicenter) in August of 2014 to examine and reflect on current knowledgeof students’ entrepreneurial development and pathways, entrepreneurship programming models, andthe efficacy of various curricular approaches. The event, known as the first “Epicenter ResearchSummit”, was co-hosted by scholars at Purdue University, Stanford University, and University ofPittsburgh; 70 attendees from 29 different institutions and organizations contributed to panel andposter sessions over two days. These sessions and the continuous dialogue, along with a series ofindividual and group exercises, allowed this community to identify gaps in knowledge abouteducational environments and pedagogies that support engineering students becoming creative,innovative and entrepreneurial thinkers. The gaps fall in three broad categories: 1. defining educational outcomes related to entrepreneurship education and linking these to broader calls for engineering education reform (i.e., the extent to which students develop skills as a result of entrepreneurship and innovation education that are aligned with those promoted in, for example, The Engineer of 2020 report; sample research questions are “To what extent does entrepreneurship education facilitate the development of creativity among engineering students who otherwise might not have the opportunity? What effect might this have on their professional trajectories? How can the community improve how creativity is assessed?”) 2. understanding student diversity in this still-emerging space (i.e., the extent to which varied life experiences, backgrounds, and identities are represented among engineering students involved in entrepreneurship education in many forms; sample research questions are “Do women, first-generation, and/or underrepresented racial/ethnic minority engineering students participate in entrepreneurship courses and activities at the same rate as do their peers? What motivates different types of students to engage in these experiences? Do they benefit from these activities in the same ways?”) 3. identifying the roles of contextual factors in influencing how entrepreneurship-related educational learning outcomes are prioritized and how entrepreneurship education could be developed in particular university or college settings (i.e., the extent to which departmental, institutional, and regional “ecosystems” influence a particular type of innovation and entrepreneurship curricular/co-curricular strategy, and/or how these contextual parameters influence students’ beliefs and actions directly; sample research questions are “To what extent do different types of engineering majors (e.g., electrical, mechanical, biomedical, etc.) promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in their curricula, with what effect on students’ plans, perceptions, and knowledge of, for instance, the innovation process? What are the implications for change initiatives within universities that begin at the student-level?”)In this paper we describe the range of research questions per category that emerged from theSummit, connect these questions to prior work (on which answers can be built), and begin toprioritize which gaps may be most important to address in order to strengthen engineering students’access to and experiences surrounding entrepreneurship and innovation education.
Sheppard, S., & Gilmartin, S., & Chen, H. L., & Besterfield-Sacre, M. E., & Duval-Couetil, N., & Shartrand, A., & Moore, L., & Costache, E., & Fintoc, A. M., & Jin, Q., & Ling, C., & Lintl, F. M., & Britos Cavagnaro, L. C., & Fasihuddin, H., & Breed, A. K. (2015, June), Exploring What We Don't Know About Entrepreneurship Education for Engineers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24083
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