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Integrating an Innovation Concentration into the Engineering Curriculum

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Karl D. Schubert University of Arkansas Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Karl D. Schubert is a Research Professor and Director of Research for Innovation and Data Science Initiatives for the College of Engineering and the Sam M. Walton College of Business in the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. His academic research focuses on providing Innovation programs for STEM education; and, student, faculty and industry innovation engagement. Schubert also serves as a consultant specializing in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and organizational optimization for new and ongoing companies. Karl earned his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the U of A, his master's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D. in Engineering from the U of A. Karl has been awarded 9 US and International patents and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET). He also has 35 years of industry experience including serving as a CIO, CTO and COO for start-ups, mid-size, and enterprise companies such as IBM, Dell and Lifetouch.

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Leslie Bartsch Massey University of Arkansas

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Leslie Massey is an instructor in the Freshman Engineering Program at the University of Arkansas. She received her BS in Biological Engineering and MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arkansas. She previously served as a project manager at a water resources center, but returned to the University of Arkansas to teach general introduction to engineering and to coordinate the Freshman Honors Innovation Experience.

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Clint E Johnson University of Arkansas

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Clint Johnson is the Director of the Supply Chain Management Research Center and the Director of the McMillon Innovation Studio as well as an instructor at the University of Arkansas. Clint’s back ground focuses mainly on developing strategies for innovating and implementing large scale retail focused initiatives, specifically as it relates to the blending of the online and brick and mortar customer. Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, Clint spent 16 years working in the retail and cpg industries. Clint held operational, supply chain, technology, and innovation roles of increasing scale and responsibility at Walmart Stores Inc’s corporate office including Director of US Fresh Replenishment and Imports, Senior Director of Supply Chain Innovation, Senior Director of Merchandising Innovation and Senior Director of Multi-Channel Innovation. During his time at Walmart, Clint was responsible for leading cross-functional teams with responsibility for developing the strategy and roadmaps for connecting ecommerce customer to stores and implemented products such as PickUp Today, Lockers, and Layaway.

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A recent survey of global innovation-based competitiveness ranked the US 6th overall across 40 countries in innovation-based competitiveness. In fact, the US is falling behind, ranking last in year-to-year improvement in innovation and competitiveness. To improve on this, the US must produce more STEM graduates capable of driving innovation. Many mid-sized universities in rural and low-technology states lack a culture or ecosystem that fosters innovation. To grow into thriving centers of technological innovation, these states must change their culture. STEM students –particularly engineering students – need a background in innovation processes, as well as real-world connections and experiences, to help develop their innovation instincts.

The College of Engineering (COE) in collaboration with the -- College of Business at the University of -- is addressing these needs by developing an applied innovation curriculum through a multi-discipline, multi-college academic innovation track. Starting as freshmen, engineering students will be partnered with business students to focus on innovation principles and processes, while incorporating classroom content with hands-on experiences and internships to focus on new product development. Students from both colleges learn why innovation matters, how to work together to create innovation, and how to solve problems with market demand. To expand this change to an innovation climate, the University will partner with regional engineering and technology industries in a manner that can serve as a model for other institutions. The COE will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate and iteratively improve the program with the overall objective of attracting, retaining, and graduating students who are capable of innovating. These students will enter the workforce better prepared to improve the economic health and competitiveness of the US.

This paper focuses on the strategy, design and development of this program, lessons learned, and plans for the future.

Schubert, K. D., & Massey, L. B., & Johnson, C. E. (2018, June), Integrating an Innovation Concentration into the Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30678

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