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Lessons Learned In Building Cross Disciplinary Partnerships In Entrepreneurship Education Through Integrated Product Development (Ipd)

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Building Cross-Disciplinary Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.821.1 - 8.821.11

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Paper Authors

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Todd A. Watkins

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Drew Snyder

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John Ochs

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

Lehigh University Session #3454

Lessons Learned in Building Cross-Disciplinary Partnerships in Entrepreneurship Education through Integrated Product Development (IPD)

John B Ochs, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA Todd W Watkins, Economics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA Drew Snyder, Art & Architecture, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Abstract Since 1994 a team of Lehigh faculty have been developing and implementing a multi-disciplinary educational environment to enable undergraduates and graduate students to experience the challenges and creative exhilaration of technical entrepreneurship through new product development. Lehigh’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) program provides a campus focus for cross-disciplinary collaboration. With top-level administrative support, additional degree programs are under development. These include Integrated Business and Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Design Arts, Masters of Business Administration and Engineering and an entrepreneurial ventures track in the MBA program. Through planning, trial and error and (now) a formal comprehensive assessment process, the IPD faculty team has developed basic lessons learned from this curricula development experience. These lessons and the skills needed to succeed closely mimics those learned in any new venture process, with the caveat that colleges and universities are unique organizations with unique incentive, organizational and individual behavior issues. The categories of lessons learned include: vision and mission, customer focus, teaming, interpersonal relationships, leadership, resource development and allocations, recognition and rewards, infrastructure development, managing curricula development and managing a constantly changing administration.

Introduction The need for cross-disciplinary teams for new product development has been well studied and documented [Ref 1-7]. Over the past ten years the need for students to experience new product development and in particular, to experience cross-disciplinary teaming has made its way into accreditation criterion for engineering, business and even arts and science. College recruiters are constantly asking our students “Have you worked in teams?” “Has it been a successful experience?” “What team building and leadership skills have you developed?”

Lehigh students enrolled in our Integrated Product Development (IPD) courses are fortunate to have this experience while undergraduates. Recruiters have stated that each year the students in Lehigh’s IPD program are “the best prepared in this class of recruits.” In addition our student report to us that the job interview itself often focused on the results on their year-long IPD project. This is not by happenstance, but by design and planning.

The IPD projects has been designed to give students industrial experience in new product development as well as the opportunity to work in a truly cross-disciplinary team. Ideally these teams are made up of students from engineering, business and design arts. This cross-disciplinary approach has evolved over the past seven years and for the upcoming year 2003 projects, there will be 203 students from 24 majors in 33 teams working with 19 companies on a variety of

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Watkins, T. A., & Snyder, D., & Ochs, J. (2003, June), Lessons Learned In Building Cross Disciplinary Partnerships In Entrepreneurship Education Through Integrated Product Development (Ipd) Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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