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First Year Student Experiences, Attitudes And Outcomes In A Seminar On Innovation And Entrepreneurship

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.590.1 - 15.590.6



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Paper Authors


Phil Schlosser Ohio State University

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Dr. Schlosser teaches First-Year Engineering courses and Freshman Seminars at The Ohio State University. He graduated from Ohio State University with B.Sc. degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering. Early in his career, he was Professor of Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering at OSU where he taught courses and conducted research in nuclear medical imaging systems. Over the past two decades, he has started several successful companies in the central Ohio area. He holds 22 U.S. and foreign patents for inventing various electronic devices and systems.

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John Merrill The Ohio State University

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John A. Merrill is the Director for the First-Year Engineering Program at The Ohio State University College of Engineering. His responsibilities include operations, faculty and graduate student recruiting, curriculum management, student retention, and program assessment. Dr. Merrill received his Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Technology from The Ohio State University in 1985, and is a two-time recipient of the College of Engineering’s Boyer Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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

First-Year Student Experiences, Attitudes and Outcomes in a Seminar on Innovation and Entrepreneurship


This paper reports on experiences, attitudes and outcomes of first-year students who have completed a one credit-hour seminar entitled "Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Rocket Fuel for Creative Minds". Although the seminar is open to all first-year students at Ohio State University, it primarily attracts engineering and business students.

This paper more fully describes the structure of the Rocket Fuel Seminar and presents selected responses of students to surveys recorded at the end of each seminar offering. The survey results clearly indicate that engineering and business students are both attracted to and motivated by entrepreneurial learning opportunities very early in their college careers.


There is ongoing discussion among engineering educators regarding whether or not engineering students should be exposed to business subjects in order to better prepare them for engineering careers.1 And, if so, what would be the best way to integrate such material into the traditional engineering curriculum? The issue of teaching entrepreneurship (how to start a company) to engineering students is even more complex, since few engineering faculty have had actual startup experiences and only a small percentage of engineering graduates will go on to start their own company sometime during their career.

And yet, engineering students as a group seem to have a high degree of curiosity about innovation (conceiving, creating and commercializing new products) and entrepreneurship. This attitude is confirmed in our experience of teaching the freshman seminar on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Another interesting element to the question of why and how to teach entrepreneurship to engineers lies in the fact that the globalization of entire markets is forcing traditional industries to become much more entrepreneurial in their operations and business development strategies.2 Indeed, the dramatic reduction in design cycle times and product lifetimes are forcing product designers to become much more agile and market-smart—just to remain competitive.

The Freshman Seminar Program at Ohio State University

In the freshman seminar program at Ohio State University, one and two credit-hour seminars are taught on a wide range of scholarly subjects by senior faculty representing diverse academic areas of the university. Faculty are invited to propose seminar topics within their area of expertise and seminar proposals are reviewed and approved by a multidisciplinary committee.

Schlosser, P., & Merrill, J. (2010, June), First Year Student Experiences, Attitudes And Outcomes In A Seminar On Innovation And Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16791

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