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KEEN Engineering Skill Set and Competition Teams Success: Creating Value Through the Co-curriculum

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ENT Division Technical Session: Competitions, Challenges, and Teams

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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William A. Kline Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Bill Kline is Professor of Engineering Management and Associate Dean of Innovation at Rose-Hulman. His teaching and professional interests include systems engineering, quality, manufacturing systems, innovation, and entrepreneurship. As Associate Dean, he directs the Branam and Kremer Innovation Centers which house campus competition teams, capstone projects, and a maker space.

He is currently an associate with IOI Partners, a consulting venture focused on innovation tools and systems. Prior to joining Rose-Hulman, he was a company co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Montronix, a company in the global machine monitoring industry.

Bill is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Illinois College and a Bronze Tablet graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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We have created the KEEN Competition Team Skills map to provide students and faculty with guidance on complementary skills that contribute to competition success. Engineering competition team projects provide students with the opportunity to apply learning from the technical classroom to real world, open-ended design projects. As Bland et al have observed, based on their research with students who participate on engineering competition teams, “engineering competitions may act as a catalyst for students to learn how to integrate technical and professional skills and knowledge in their development as an engineer” (Bland et al 2016). In addition, engineering students’ involvement in activities outside of the classroom, such as student competition teams, contributes to their achievement of numerous other outcomes; according to Simmons, et al (2017), engagement with these activities enhances students’ “career and professional development, communication and leadership development, intellectual development, personal and social development, academic and social engagement, intercultural competence, satisfaction with college experiences, and college belonging and persistence in major and college.” Clearly working on a competition team does not limit students’ learning to design and build skills only. In fact students often find that they must employ specific non-technical skills that may not have been a part of technical coursework. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which the competition team context could contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial mindset (EM), a mindset can impact students’ learning and professional success in the long term.

The KEEN Engineering Skillset (KES) is part of the EM framework and serves as further explication of what a student can do as a result of developing EM (see Figure 1). A comparison of the KES to the competition team context suggests that KES maps well to competitions in some cases (e.g., the skills listed in the Design category), but maps less well in others (e.g., skills listed in the Impact and Opportunity categories). Our project objective to understand the alignment between the KES and the competition team context, and then to translate the KEEN Engineering Skillset into a form that is appropriate for the competition teams context. As a result of our work, we believe that we can demonstrate how the competition team context contributes to the development of both engineering students’ learning and their entrepreneurial mindset.

Williams, J. M., & Kline, W. A. (2020, June), KEEN Engineering Skill Set and Competition Teams Success: Creating Value Through the Co-curriculum Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34891

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