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Leveraging University Entrepreneurship Center Programs as a Means to Enrich Engineering Education

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Education Session 3

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.867.1 - 24.867.19



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Paper Authors


Tammy VanDeGrift University of Portland

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Dr. Tammy VanDeGrift is an associate professor of computer science and the Associate Dean for the Shiley School of Engineering at the University of Portland. Her research interests in computer science education include perceptions of the field, student preconceptions, and student values. She is also interested in broadening participation in computer science and served as a co-editor for special issues on broadening participation in computing for K-12 and post-secondary education for the ACM Transactions on Computing Education.

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Jon Down University of Portland

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Leveraging University Entrepreneurship Center Programs as a Means to Enrich Engineering Education As engineering curricula evolves to include greater emphasis on entrepreneurship andinnovation it is imperative to leverage well developed resources that exist on many campuses.More than 1,500 colleges and universities offer some form of entrepreneurship training and morethan 200 have some type of entrepreneurship center. In this paper we describe the University ofX’s Center for Entrepreneurship and how programs developed by experts in entrepreneurshipeducation have been successfully utilized by engineering students to complement theirengineering education. Furthermore, the paper describes how the engineering faculty modifiedthe engineering curricula to encourage engagement in entrepreneurship activities. In today’s global marketplace entrepreneurship is a fundamental building block ofcompetitive advantage. Creativity, passion, opportunity recognition, a willingness to take risks,strategy execution, a can-do mindset – these entrepreneurial traits and skills are the driversbehind the creation of new innovative business units, companies and organizations. The Centerfor Entrepreneurship is a nexus of entrepreneurial programs, activities and thinking, a place forstudents to learn and experience entrepreneurship. An interdisciplinary organization, the Centerhelps graduate and undergraduate students develop entrepreneurial skills by fosteringrelationships between the University and the global business community. Students engage inclassroom activity; interact with business owners, corporate executives, professionals, universityfaculty, and entrepreneurs; and travel domestically and abroad to gain a global perspective andignite ideas for creative ventures. Two major programs that were started in the late 1990s are the Entrepreneur ScholarsProgram and the $100K Business Plan Challenge. Engineering students have successfullyparticipated in these programs in small numbers over the past decade. However, more recentlyengineering faculty and students have recognized the extracurricular benefits of the programsand participation numbers have grown. This paper more completely describes the E-Scholars Program and Business PlanCompetition, how engineering students have successfully participated in these programs, andtheir feedback in terms of how the Center’s programs have helped prepare them for theprofession. The paper includes analysis and interpretation of survey data from engineeringgraduates of the Center’s programs. Our goal is to provide a set of program models that otheruniversities could use as examples for developing co-curricular opportunities in engineering andentrepreneurship.

VanDeGrift, T., & Down, J. (2014, June), Leveraging University Entrepreneurship Center Programs as a Means to Enrich Engineering Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22800

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