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Fostering Entrepreneurship While Teaching Design

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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

Entrepreneurship and Design

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.597.1 - 15.597.21



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Paper Authors


Kevin Dahm Rowan University

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Kevin Dahm is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998. He has published in the areas of engineering design, pedagogically sound uses for simulation and computing, assessment of student learning, and teaching engineering economy. He has received four ASEE awards: the 2002 PIC-III award, the 2003 Joseph J. Martin Award, the 2004 Raymond W. Fahien Award and the 2005 Corcoran Award.

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William Riddell Rowan University

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William Riddell is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rowan University. He received his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Rowan, he worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation John A. Volpe Center, and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in residence at the Mechanics of Materials Branch at NASA Langley Research Center. His research and teaching interests include design education, sustainability and structural mechanics and materials.

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Tom Merrill Rowan University

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Tom Merrill is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. His research interests include energy systems, biotransport modeling, and medical devices. Prior to Rowan University, Dr. Merrill worked for 13 years including United Technologies Carrier, Abiomed, Wyeth Research, MicroDose Technologies, and FocalCool - a medical device startup company he founded. He received his degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State (Ph.D.), the University of Michigan (M.S.), and Bucknell University (B.S.). He currently teaches thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and biofluids.

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Leigh Weiss Rowan University

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Leigh Weiss is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University from 1968 to the present.. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Buffalo State University in 1967/8.

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

Fostering Entrepreneurship while Teaching Design


Rowan University has a unique 8-semester Engineering Clinic sequence. This sequence helps develop professional skills identified in the ABET A-K criteria though project-based-learning. The Freshman Engineering Clinics are an introduction to the profession, teamwork, and measurements. The Sophomore Engineering Clinics provide an introduction to technical communication and engineering design principles, and in the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinics, students work in multidisciplinary teams on real research and design projects. Most Junior/Senior Engineering clinics are sponsored by companies, or federal or state government agencies.

As a secondary objective, the Engineering Clinic supports entrepreneurship in engineering students. The College of Engineering has a long-standing program that allows students to apply for funding to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas through the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinics. However, the program has been utilized by very few students. Recently, two new assignments- an entrepreneurial design project and a white paper- have been added to the Sophomore Engineering Clinic sequence. This paper describes these new assignments and discusses how entrepreneurship provides an excellent framework for meeting the main pedagogical objectives of the course: teaching technical communication and engineering design. It will also give an assessment of whether the new assignments have been effective in causing more students to pursue entrepreneurship in the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinic.

I. Background and Introduction

Project-based learning has been gaining popularity in engineering curricula to address the professional skills component (or A-K criteria) introduced by ABET in the 2000 criteria. [1] The College of Engineering at Rowan University has adopted a sequence of courses, known as Engineering Clinics, throughout the engineering curriculum. In this sequence, engineering students progress from limited scope projects freshman year, to ill-posed and open-ended projects that reflect professional practice in the Junior and Senior years. Indeed, most Junior- and Senior-year projects are externally sponsored. The College of Engineering faculty believes that this progression is logical, taking full advantage of project-based learning and allowing students to develop toward professional practice throughout their studies.

Like many engineering programs, Rowan University is also striving to develop a sense of entrepreneurship in their students. The College of Engineering has established a venture capital fund that allows undergraduate students to pursue entrepreneurial ideas, and has been developing contacts with faculty from the College of Business Administration. A recently developed tech park that is affiliated with Rowan University has incubator space that is devoted to small

Dahm, K., & Riddell, W., & Merrill, T., & Weiss, L. (2010, June), Fostering Entrepreneurship While Teaching Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16393

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015