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Getting "There": Understanding How Innovation and Entrepreneurship Become Part of Engineering Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Institutionalizing Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Nilsen Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Liz Nilsen is a Senior Program Director at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, helping nurture change efforts in engineering education, innovation, and beyond. Previously, she was a Senior Program Officer at VentureWell, where she co-developed and co-led the Epicenter Pathways to Innovation initiative, an effort to engage with a cohort of colleges and universities to fully embed innovation and entrepreneurship in undergraduate engineering education. Her experience also includes leadership of STEM initiatives with Penn State and Virginia Tech. She earned her BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Northeastern University.

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Edward F. Morrison Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Ed Morrison is Director of the Agile Strategy Lab at Purdue University. Ed has been developing a new approach to developing strategies for complex collaboration in open, loosely connected networks. Called “strategic doing”, this methodology emphasizes the strategic value of collaboration in today's global economy.
For over twenty-five years, he conducted strategy projects throughout the U.S. His work won the first Arthur D. Little Award for excellence in economic development presented by the American Economic Development Council.
Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France.
Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.

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Raquel Asencio Purdue University


Scott Hutcheson Purdue University, School of Engineering Technology

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A social scientist who has studied and practiced strategy and collaboration since 1992, Scott Hutcheson's focus is on designing and guiding collaborative approaches to strategy in complex systems and he has applied his work in diverse settings like economic development, technology innovation, business growth, organizational transformation, and social change.

Scott has been engaged by nearly 400 industry, public sector, higher education, and nonprofit clients in 30 U.S. states and internationally and he has worked with the White House, Department of Commerce, National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies in the design and execution of strategies to support economic development and innovation in the U.S. economy.

He teaches in the School of Engineering Technology at Purdue University and is a frequent guest lecturer at other universities both in the U.S. and abroad. Scott is also the Associate Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab.

Prior to his career in academia, Scott worked in both corporate and social change strategy with American Airlines and United Way. He has a Ph.D. in public policy, a masters in public administration, and an undergraduate degree in theatre. His doctoral research was on effective strategy in economic development.

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The investments made to change engineering education in the US are immense, as anyone who has perused NSF’s annual reports quickly realizes. As Giersch notes (2014), significant change requires attention to at least two dimensions: equipping individual faculty with effective tools and approaches, and working on an institutional level to scale and sustain improvement. How to operationalize this conceptual understanding is still elusive, however – both individuals and organizations tend to resist change, and the prospect of doing both simultaneously is daunting.

This paper will present the results of new research on a national network of universities engaged in an effort to embed innovation and entrepreneurship in undergraduate engineering education, in an attempt to “look under the hood” at the process of change. While innovation and entrepreneurship will serve as the primary lens for this research, the lessons learned may be of value to engineering education transformation more generally.

Previous articles examining the work of this network have summarized the types of activities that have been initiated at the institutions; this paper will update that information and move beyond to examine the work of change itself, with particular focus on these dimensions:

· Change as a team effort: How do team size and composition impact the effectiveness of transformation initiatives? How can teams organize their work to maximize their chances of success? · Leading change: How do leaders of teams working in these initiatives approach their work? Are there particular leadership behaviors or attitudes that can accelerate change? · The context of change: What impact do institutional context factors, such as college or university leadership transitions, have on engineering education transformation efforts?

In addition to presenting the results of research currently underway, the paper will suggest areas in which additional research is needed.

Giersch, S., & McMartin, F. P., & Nilsen, E., & Sheppard, S., & Weilerstein, P. (2014, June), Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Creating a Faculty Development Program Grounded in Results from a Literature Review Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nilsen, E., & Morrison, E. F., & Asencio, R., & Hutcheson, S. (2017, June), Getting "There": Understanding How Innovation and Entrepreneurship Become Part of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28404

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