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Extracurricular Fieldtrips to Theme Parks to Teach Creativity and Innovation

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division – Entrepreneurship Education in New Contexts

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.748.1 - 26.748.16



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Paper Authors


Mark M. Budnik Valparaiso University

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Mark M. Budnik is the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair and the Paul and Cleo Brandt Professor of Engineering at Valparaiso University. Prior to joining the faculty at Valparaiso University in 2006, Mark worked in the semiconductor industry, culminating as a Principal Engineer and Director of White Goods and Motor Control at Hitachi Semiconductor. He is the author of more than fifty book chapters, journal articles, and conference proceedings. Mark’s current research interests are in the field of creativity and innovation instruction. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design.

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Extracurricular Fieldtrips to Theme Parks to Teach Creativity and InnovationIn December, 2001, The National Academy of Engineering established a steering committee toenvision the state of engineering in 2020 and develop a framework for the future ofundergraduate engineering education in the United States. The final report, The Engineer of2020 – Visions of Engineering in the New Century was published to present the Academy'saspirations describing the attributes required for undergraduate engineering graduates in 2020.As expected, strong analytical skills and the ability to work under increasing economic, legal,and political constraints were highlighted. However, the text is overwhelmingly dedicated toidentifying a number of professional skills as essential attributes of the 2020 engineer: practicalingenuity, creativity, communication, business management, and leadership. However, in thereport’s executive summary, the authors conclude: “If the United States is to maintain itseconomic leadership and be able to sustain its share of high-technology jobs, it must prepare fora new wave of change. While there is no consensus at this stage, it is agreed that innovation isthe key and engineering is essential to this task….”In the fall semesters of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 engineering undergraduates from NAMEOMITTED participated in a five-day fieldtrip offered as a one-credit course focused oncreativity, innovation, teamwork, and leading the creative process. The course was taught bymembers of the institution’s engineering faculty and included sessions and on-location tours amajor theme parks that were led by instructors from an external training organization nearOrlando, Florida. Assessment showed a significant improvement in the students' understandingof the roles of creativity, innovation, and the role of leadership in the creative process.To augment the one-credit course offered in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, NAME OMITTEDhas now begun offering similar programs as extracurricular “fieldtrips” or workshops to allowstudents to receive additional instruction in creativity and innovation without the faculty orstudents worrying about the constraints or problems associated with for-credit classes. The paperwill begin with a brief review of related work. Next, it will outline how the extracurricularfieldtrips differ from the previous one-credit classes offered by NAME OMITTED and studentand faculty attitudes toward their preparation and participation. Finally, assessment results willbe presented to show how the students’ performed following the extracurricular fieldtrips andcompared to the previous one-credit class results.

Budnik, M. M. (2015, June), Extracurricular Fieldtrips to Theme Parks to Teach Creativity and Innovation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24085

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