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Service Learning As A Prerequisite To Engineering Entrepreneurship

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Education: Experiential Learning and Economic Development I

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1054.1 - 14.1054.8



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Paper Authors

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Lisa Zidek Florida Gulf Coast University

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

Service Learning as a Prerequisite to Engineering Entrepreneurship


Engineering Entrepreneurship is becoming more prevalent in engineering curricula and throughout engineering programs. At Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) the UA Whitaker School of Engineering incorporated Engineering Entrepreneurship as a required course for all engineering disciplines. The original curriculum at FGCU introduced Engineering Entrepreneurship in the second semester of the sophomore year. Engineering Entrepreneurship was a prerequisite to the Engineering Service Learning course, required of first semester juniors. In the original curriculum design, students in Engineering Entrepreneurship were tasked with providing an entrepreneurial solution for a predetermined client. The course instructors were takes with identifying an acceptable community partner for the class. The project was then carried into Engineering Service Learning in the following academic year. Engineering Service learning was designed to assist the students with the design, testing and implementation stages of the engineering design process.


The FGCU mission statement includes statements regarding “valuing public service”, “encouraging civic responsibility” and a requirement of community service learning hours (FGCU Mission). In addition, the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering vision states “This is accomplished in an entrepreneurial and innovative educational environment that values diversity, service, integrity, leadership, and collaborations” (Engineering Mission). In 2005 Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) welcomed its inaugural class in engineering with an innovative curriculum based on integrated lecture-lab classes and a mission statement that clearly identifies the value of entrepreneurship and service. The engineering programs at FGCU have been developed with engineering entrepreneurship and engineering service learning as foundation courses for all disciplines. The initial offering of Engineering Entrepreneurship was during the spring 2007 semester to the sophomore engineering students.

During the initial offering, the Engineering Entrepreneurship students were challenged to work with a local high school math department and the develop proposals for products or services that will stimulate interest in mathematics, with an ultimate goal of increasing awareness of technology fields such as engineering. The products or services will be developed and implemented as part of the service learning experience in fall.

In this version of the curriculum, Engineering Entrepreneurship was the prerequisite class for Engineering Service Learning. Students were tasked with completing service learning hours with the client, finalizing the design, testing and implantation of the heir projects and reporting the results.

Zidek, L. (2009, June), Service Learning As A Prerequisite To Engineering Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4923

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