Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.713.1 - 9.713.10
In Search of Innovators in the University Community
John Farris / Nancy Levenburg / Paul Lane
Padnos School of Engineering / Seidman School of Business
Grand Valley State University
An interdisciplinary team of faculty charged with developing an entrepreneurship program discovered that innovation flourishes outside of business and engineering. In the summer of 2003, eight faculty members – six from the School of Business and two from the School of Engineering – gathered to construct an entrepreneurship program that would prepare students to conceive, evaluate and launch entrepreneurial ventures. As a first step, a survey was conducted to measure students’ interest in entrepreneurship. To the surprise of the authors, students outside the engineering and business schools appeared to be more interested in starting their own business. These students have more new venture ideas and were more alert to opportunities for new businesses. These survey respondents came from Science and Math, Arts and Humanities, Nursing and Education.
Now where are the engineering and business faculty members to teach innovation, new product processes and entrepreneurship to non-engineering and non-business students? Do you have entrepreneurial faculty who can develop and champion entrepreneurship programs? Who among your faculty is capable of teaching the appropriate mix of theory and practice to feed the entrepreneur’s passion for innovation? These innovators need practical interdisciplinary courses to assess the feasibility of their ideas. Further many need to work with engineering professionals to transform their ideas into realistic designs and prototypes. Have you got faculty who are comfortable doling out engineering as needed? The quick answer to all these questions is probably, “No.” Are we missing the opportunity to build the communities in which we live by failing to encourage, support, and lead innovation?
In the spring of 2003 the Center for Entrepreneurship located in the Seidman Business School at Grand Valley State University received a grant to develop a program in entrepreneurship. A call for interested parties was put out to the University. The result was a committee made up of two engineers, one Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) director, and several business school professors. The
Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education
Levenburg, N., & Lane, P., & Farris, J. (2004, June), In Search Of Innovators In The University Community Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/13588
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