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Teaching Students to be Technology Innovators: Examining Approaches and Identifying Competencies

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Teaching and Learning Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1259.1 - 25.1259.15



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Paper Authors


Nathalie Duval-Couetil Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Nathalie Duval-Couetil is the Director of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, Associate Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University. She is responsible for the launch and development of the university’s multidisciplinary undergraduate entrepreneurship program, which has involved more than 3,500 students from all majors since 2005. As part of the program, she has established entrepreneurship capstone, global entrepreneurship, and women and leadership courses and initiatives. Prior to her work in academia, Duval-Couetil spent several years in the field of market research and business strategy consulting in Europe and the United States with Booz Allen and Hamilton and Data and Strategies Group. She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, her M.B.A. from Babson College, and Ph.D. from Purdue.

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Michael J. Dyrenfurth Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Michael J. Dyrenfurth is a professor of industrial technology in the College of Technology at Purdue University. He is a member of the ASEE and he has served on the Board of the ETD and as Program Chair for the CIEC in New Orleans (2008). Previously, he completed a four year term as Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies in Purdue University’s College of Technology. He is Co-PI of two international EU-FIPSE funded grants. His scholarship agenda focuses on technological innovation, technological literacy, workforce development, and international dimensions of these fields. Increasingly, he has turned his attention to the assessment of technological capability and understanding. He received his Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and his master's and bachelor’s degrees at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Immediately before coming to Purdue, he served as graduate coordinator for the Industrial Education and Technology Department at Iowa State University. Previously, for 20 years, he was on the faculty of the University of Missouri’s Department of Practical Arts and Vocational Technical Education in various professorial, coordinator, and leadership roles. Internationally, he has worked in Germany, South Africa, Poland, the USSR, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Czech and Slovak Republics, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Taiwan. His early experience involved teaching in Alberta and at universities in North Dakota and New Jersey.

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Teaching Students to be Technology Innovators: Examining Approaches and Identifying Competencies In a stagnating and an increasingly competitive and global economy, theawareness of the role of innovation in economic development takes on more prominence.Innovation is often associated with the launch of new entrepreneurial ventures, however,it also drives growth in established companies as it is at the origin of new products,features, processes, methods, efficiencies, and markets that generate revenue and createjobs. There is growing consensus of the need to graduate more innovative students whoare not only more inclined to be innovative but who are also better able to create valuewithin the organizations that employ them. This is particularly true in the fields ofengineering and technology, where new innovations contribute significantly to economicgrowth. As a result of this imperative, universities are increasingly promoting programsand courses that focus on innovation and which take varying approaches to exposestudents to innovative thinking and action. Given the early stage of development of suchprograms, currently there appears to be little consensus on best practices, targetcompetencies or desired outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis ofthe nature of programs that emphasize innovation within the fields of engineering andtechnology. This will be achieved by analyzing program offerings to understand whatcontent and competencies are being emphasized. The analysis will identify the portion ofthe innovation and commercialization pipeline that each program focuses on and it willpay particular attention to how and what the program does to increase the wellspring ofinnovation. The goal is to share the results of our analysis as to the degree to whichprograms and courses address what innovation is (theory) versus the degree to which theyget students involved in the process (practice). It will also examine learning outcomesassociated with methods used to teach innovation. The intent is to create and present aframework for understanding the various approaches to teaching innovation anddeveloping its core competencies.

Duval-Couetil, N., & Dyrenfurth, M. J. (2012, June), Teaching Students to be Technology Innovators: Examining Approaches and Identifying Competencies Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22016

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