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Integration of Entrepreneurship Education into a Bioengineering Capstone Design Class

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovations in Design within BME Curricula

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Page Count


Page Numbers

22.921.1 - 22.921.16



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Paper Authors


Howard P. Davis Washington State University

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Dr. Davis received degrees from The Evergreen State College (B.A. 1976), WSU (B.S. 1981, M.S. 1988) and the University of Oregon (Ph.D. 1993). He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. He has been the president and CEO of IPM, a medical device company and Total Dynamics LLC a software company. He is also on the board of directors of Developing World Technologies, a company started by former students of the capstone class that he teaches. His interests include engineering and entrepreneurship pedagogy and assessment, technology development and clinical applications of biomedical instrumentation.

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Denny C. Davis Washington State University

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Dr. Denny Davis is Professor of Bioengineering and Director of the Engineering Education Research Center at Washington State University. He has taught capstone design for over two decades and led development of interdisciplinary capstone design for a decade. He also leads the multi-institution consortium that has developed the Integrated Design Engineering Assessment and Learning System (IDEALS).

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Integration of Entrepreneurship Education into a Bioengineering Capstone Design ClassEngineering degree programs are challenged to develop students’ capabilities that add value totheir employers and to society at large. Among the highly desired capabilities are abilities toinnovate. Entrepreneurial competency is especially important for bioengineers as over 50% ofthe roughly 700 producers of biomedical instruments in the U.S. have fewer than 20 employees1,and the introduction of new instruments is a main point of competition.This paper presents a template for integrating entrepreneurship educational objectives into a two-semester multidisciplinary capstone design course that engages bioengineering students withbusiness, science and engineering majors to collaboratively create a valuable technologicalsolution (or product) with business potential. Bioengineering seniors enroll in this class for theirsenior design experience.An Integrated Design Engineering Assessment and Learning System (IDEALS) is utilizedthroughout the course to facilitate and assess learning outcomes. IDEALS instructional materialsand assessments are structured to provide a general introduction to engineering in today’s world.The following are the learning outcomes for the class: 1. Dispositions toward increased confidence and mindset to recognize, evaluate and move toward opportunities. 2. Abilities to apply and defend business development processes to create a business concept for an envisioned solution that offers potential for a sustainable business investment. 3. Abilities to prepare and critically read financial documents, including a balance sheet, income statement, cash flow analysis and break even analysis. 4. Abilities to prepare to seek or obtain sources of capital applying knowledge about requirements and pros and cons of different sources of capital. 5. Abilities to apply knowledge about intellectual property to strategically create barriers to entry for competitors. 6. Abilities to plan and manage a design project to complete specified deliverables within allotted time and budget. 7. Abilities to organize, improve, and contribute effectively to a multidisciplinary project team. 8. Abilities to access, learn, process, and demonstrate knowledge competence to advance a team-based entrepreneurial engineering project.                                                            1  “IBISWorld US Medical Device Manufacturing Industry Market Research Report,” n.d.,  9. Abilities to explain and demonstrate ethical and professional responsibility in the context of team interactions, class assignments, client interactions, and professional norms. 10. Abilities to communicate effectively in written and oral forms to teammates, project advisors, technical experts, and business investors; ability to accurately document learning, ideas, and achievements. 11. Abilities to apply and defend problem scoping and concept generation (design) processes to create a solution concept aligned with important stakeholder needs. 12. Abilities to evaluate social, economic, legal, and other conditions that impact success of the technological product locally and globally. 13. Abilities to evaluate and explain performance of solutions in the context of established technical specifications. 14. Abilities to deliver project products (design solution and business plan) judged credible by clients and others within the engineering and business professions.This capstone design course sequence has emerged from a decade of cross-college collaborationand refinement. Results are evidenced by greater entrepreneurial competencies of students, morebusiness-ready technological products, and more substantive relationships with collaborators.Increasingly, the courses are managed to emulate business practice and operate on a rapiddevelopment cycle. This paper presents the following templates for establishing anentrepreneurial engineering capstone design course for bioengineering students: 1. Instructor and student composition for strong multidisciplinary entrepreneurial engineering project development 2. Project selection and team formation processes for strong projects and teams 3. Timeline for instruction and major project deliverables 4. Use of assessments to facilitate student learning and project development

Davis, H. P., & Davis, D. C. (2011, June), Integration of Entrepreneurship Education into a Bioengineering Capstone Design Class Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18257

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