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In Search Of Innovators In The University Community

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Collaborative Programs and Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.713.1 - 9.713.10



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Paper Authors

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Nancy Levenburg

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Paul Lane

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John Farris

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

Session 2395

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. 10.18260/1-2--13588

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