July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
The ongoing development and continuous quality improvement of an undergraduate program in engineering entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership at a university is shared. We present the development timeline from program inception and the operational processes and practices undertaken during the first five years of the program, culminating in our proceeding through ABET accreditation (in the past year). The concept of “leadership engineering” was first coined in 2011, and the development of the plans for a new generation degree program offering proceeded through to 2013 when the proposal for the establishment was passed through the university procedures and proceeded to achieve approval from the public university system. The original proposal was adapted to be titled “Engineering Leadership” – now coined the E-LEAD degree program – and is the first of a kind in the US; the degree offering was ratified and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October 2014. The first students began undertaking technical engineering courses at the university, taught within conventional engineering disciplinary departments, during 2013. Through achieving this head start, along with completing inaugural groundbreaking special topics classes in leadership engineering subjects in 2014, we celebrated our first cohort of students graduating in May 2017. We have since achieved two further graduating cohorts; in May 2018, and May 2019, and in this contribution, we share their characteristics and achievements. During the course of these pioneering students’ programs, a number of innovations in teaching methods and curriculum proceeded. These improvements were aided by a partnership with Olin College. Methods and approaches to core engineering courses taught in the Olin engineering degree program were adapted to teach engineering leadership at the university. The resulting program has a unique character, emphasizing small cohorts deeply engaged in learning in a hands-on project-based studio environment. As of October 2019, the program has thus been operational for 5 years. Three versions of the degree plan have in essence proceeded, and these will be elaborated in the paper: The first period, proceeding from commencement through to the 2016 catalog, involved the testing and inauguration period described above, including practicing Olin adoptions and adaptations of several courses. During this phase of the program two tracks were offered: business, called sequences, provided to guide students along with several of the many optional pathways in their degree aspirations. The second period followed, with the introduction of sequences in our 2017 catalog, to provide students scaffolding and guidance in technical engineering coursework pathways; in topical areas such as biomedical engineering, computer sciences, mechanics, and materials science and engineering. The third and latest development period began in earnest in fall 2019; it includes further improvement and specification of options and clarifying pre-requisite and degree program coursework pathways. Progress further includes ABET accreditation, aligned to time with the university’s existing, regular ABET program process. Further initiatives include changes and improvements in the curriculum offerings, including business engineering, ethics, finance, innovation and technology, and entrepreneurship practices. All the while the program has gained in status and function, with all student two-semester senior capstone experiences being industry-partner funded, for example, and strong recruitment of students occurring into US and international industries, graduate schools, and government. We will share students’ stories of pathways to employment, before, as a finale to this paper, conjecturing some future directions and options for ongoing program development.
Golding, P., & Starks, S. A., & Gonzalez, R. V., & Kendall, M. R., & Novick, D. G., & Joslyn, C. H. (2021, July), Leadership in Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37422
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