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Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset through a Sophomore-Level, Multi-Disciplinary, Engineering Design Studio Experience

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 9

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Cristi L Bell-Huff Lawrence Technological University

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff, PhD is the Director of the Studio for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design (SEED) at Lawrence Technological University where she teaches courses on fundamentals of engineering design projects and entrepreneurial engineering design. In addition to her PhD in Chemical Engineering, she also has an MA in Educational Studies and is a certified teacher in Michigan. She has industrial experience in pharmaceutical product and process development and 15 years of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

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Donald D. Carpenter P.E. Lawrence Technological University

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Donald D. Carpenter, PhD, PE, LEED AP is Professor of Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University where he teaches courses on ethics/professionalism and water resources. Dr. Carpenter has served as the University Director of Assessment and the founding Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. He conducts funded pedagogical research and development projects, has published numerous engineering education papers, and provides faculty development workshops on effective teaching. In 2006, the Kern Family Foundation named Dr. Carpenter a Kern Fellow for Entrepreneurial Education recognizing his efforts to bring innovative team based problem solving into the engineering curriculum to promote the entrepreneurial mindset. In addition to his work on ethics and entrepreneurial skills, Dr. Carpenter is an accredited green design professional (LEED AP) and practicing professional engineer. As founding Director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute, he conducts research on water management and routinely provides professional lectures/short courses on innovative stormwater treatment design and its role in Low Impact Development implementation.

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Andrew L. Gerhart Lawrence Technological University

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Andrew Gerhart, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University. He is actively involved in ASEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Engineering Society of Detroit. He serves as Faculty Advisor for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Chapter at LTU, chair of the First Year Engineering Experience committee, chair for the LTU KEEN Course Modification Team, chair for the LTU Leadership Curriculum Committee, supervisor of the LTU Thermo-Fluids Laboratory, coordinator of the Certificate/Minor in Aeronautical Engineering, and faculty advisor of the LTU SAE Aero Design Team. Dr. Gerhart conducts workshops on active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, entrepreneurial mindset education, creative problem solving, and innovation. He is an author of a fluid mechanics textbook.

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First year, project-based, engineering design courses have become common within engineering curricula across the country. In our first year course, we intentionally lay the foundation for the development of an entrepreneurial mindset within the context of traditional project-based design experiences. In addition, engineering programs have traditionally incorporated a capstone design project during the senior year and this provides another opportunity for our students to demonstrate an enterprising attitude. However, there exists a gap in design opportunities as well as in opportunities to continue the development of an entrepreneurial mindset for many students between the freshman and senior year of their engineering education. To address this need, we have designed a sophomore level course that will foster an entrepreneurial mindset in our students through a team-based, multidisciplinary engineering design studio experience. In this course, students will build upon the lessons learned in the first-year course by engaging real customers to identify and define opportunities themselves based on a theme. They will then use a systematic design process to design, build, and test prototypes that address these opportunities and create value for their customers.

The purpose of this paper is to present the process to design this new course and to describe the course curriculum. For example, while studio courses are commonplace in architecture programs, they are not traditionally found in engineering curricula. Thus, best practices had to be found through identification of existing programs and benchmarking activities. Benchmarking of curriculum, studio pedagogy, and facilities were all important aspects of the development of this course. After benchmarking and reviewing the literature, we created the learning objectives and outlined a syllabus and course schedule for the design studio. Additional ongoing development activities have included garnering support from faculty and administration to incorporate the course into the core curriculum as well as assembling an external advisory board of industrial and entrepreneurial professionals to mentor students during their time in the design studio. Future papers will document implementation and assessment of the course.

Bell-Huff, C. L., & Carpenter, D. D., & Gerhart, A. L. (2016, June), Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset through a Sophomore-Level, Multi-Disciplinary, Engineering Design Studio Experience Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26942

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