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Stimulating and Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Lessons from Institutions on the Front Lines

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division – Program Development & Desired Outcomes

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1401.1 - 26.1401.17



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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Nilsen VentureWell Orcid 16x16

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Liz Nilsen is a Senior Program Officer at VentureWell, a national higher education network that cultivates inventions and technical innovations to improve life for people and the planet. At VentureWell, Liz provides leadership to the Epicenter Pathways to Innovation initiative, an effort to engage with a cohort of colleges and universities to fully embed innovation and entrepreneurship in undergraduate engineering education. She also works on the development of new programs for VentureWell. Liz previously led several STEM initiatives, including those associated with Penn State and Virginia Tech. She earned her BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Northeastern University.

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Victoria Matthew VentureWell/Epicenter

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Victoria Matthew is Senior Program Officer for Faculty Development at VentureWell, where she plays a lead role in the Pathways to Innovation Program, Epicenter’s faculty development and engagement strategy. She designs in-person and online convenings, engages experts, and curates content that fosters the Pathways faculty goals of integrating entrepreneurship and innovation into undergraduate engineering. Prior to joining VentureWell, Victoria worked for over a decade in higher education. She has designed, developed and managed degree, and certificate programs, and has experience as an online instructor, and mentor and trainer of other online instructors.

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Angela Shartrand VentureWell

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Angela Shartrand is Director of Research and Evaluation at VentureWell, a non-profit higher education network that helps emerging scientists and engineers launch products and ventures that improve life for people and the planet. Since 2005, she has contributed to the growth and development of VentureWell's entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives, which include grants, competitions, faculty development, innovator training, and network building. In addition, she has collaborated on many NSF-funded projects that are advancing entrepreneurship education in STEM fields, including Epicenter and I-Corps(tm). She and her team are currently examining the experiences of innovators commercializing and scaling-up new technologies, products, and services, and are developing ways to assess the venture and product development status of innovation teams. She received her B.A. from Williams College, an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College.

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Thema Monroe-White SageFox Consulting Group

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Thema Monroe-White is a senior evaluator at SageFox Consulting Group, specializing on driving organizational and program performance through efficient and effective evaluation design and implementation. Prior to joining SageFox, she worked as a researcher and evaluator for several local and federally funded projects in the areas of mental health, STI Policy and the STEM pipeline. Thema has also taught in the K-12 environment and served as an invited guest lecturer for courses in leadership, statistics and cross-cultural psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Thema completed her PhD in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she studied social entrepreneurship and innovation. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and world traveler having spent time in over one dozen countries since the age of nine. Thema currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three children.

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Stimulating and Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Lessons from Institutions on the Front LinesABSTRACTThis paper will describe a national program that supports faculty and institutions in their work tointroduce and embed entrepreneurship and innovation learning into formal and informaleducational experiences for undergraduate engineering students using a team-based guidedchange process. The XXXX program was launched in 2013 with an initial cohort of twelveschools; informed by research into effective practices in faculty development and institutionalchange, each school’s effort is led by a team (Beach, 2012) while the teams themselves are inturn gathered into a national network (Dempster, 2012). Strategies used by the participatingschools included introduction of new courses and programs, development of learning spaces,faculty development activities, and collaboration with other disciplines. The schools variedwidely in their institutional profile with regard to size, student demographics, governance, initialbreadth of entrepreneurship education opportunities for engineering students, and availability ofoff-campus entrepreneurship opportunities in the surrounding region. Despite these differences, anumber of factors were identified over the course of the program year that were associated withsuccess in making entrepreneurship education more available and accessible for undergraduateengineering students.The paper will: 1. Briefly describe the theory, structure and components of the program including the underlying theory of change and its grounding in research of effective models of faculty development and change in higher education. 2. Summarize the findings of the evaluation of the program’s first year; the evaluation effort in this period was primarily qualitative in nature, with additional baseline quantitative data collected for future comparison in 2015 and 2016. 3. Describe in detail the primary “lessons learned” to date; five specific factors were associated with program success at the institutional level: a. adaptation of program principles to individual institutional contexts; b. the critical role of the leader of change within the institution; c. the role of an active “community of practice” across institutions in supporting change; d. the profile of individual institutions efforts which have demonstrated success; e. the function of “trailblazer” schools in providing models and mentors on innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering education. 4. Discuss the implications of these factors for program adaptation in expansion of the initiative, as well as for broader discussion within the engineering education community about the implementation of innovation and entrepreneurship in learning experiences. References Beach, A. L., Henderson, C., & Finkelstein, N. (2012). Facilitating Change in Undergraduate STEM Education. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 44(6), 52–59. doi:10.1080/00091383.2012.728955 Dempster, J. A., Benfield, G., & Francis, R. (2012). An academic development model for fostering innovation and sharing in curriculum design. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49(2), 135–147. doi:10.1080/14703297.2012.677595.

Nilsen, E., & Matthew, V., & Shartrand, A., & Monroe-White, T. (2015, June), Stimulating and Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Lessons from Institutions on the Front Lines Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24738

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015