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Technology Entrepreneurship Programs In U.S. Engineering Schools: An Analysis Of Programs At The Undergraduate Level

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Post BS Entrepreneurship Education Needs

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1198.1 - 15.1198.10



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Paper Authors


Angela Shartrand National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

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Angela Shartrand is Research and Evaluation Manager at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, a non-profit organization that supports technology entrepreneurship in U.S. colleges and universities. Her research focuses on understanding how to develop and sustain ecosystems that support innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Williams College.

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Phil Weilerstein National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

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Mary Besterfield-Sacre University of Pittsburgh


Katharine Golding National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

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Kate Golding is an Associate for Research and Evaluation at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. She has worked as a consultant to small startups, as well as being office manager and project coordinator to established small businesses. She earned her B.F.A in painting at the University of Delaware.

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


This paper examines and characterizes current approaches to entrepreneurship education among undergraduate engineering programs based on initial data from two research studies and over a decade of grant-making and faculty development by the NCIIA to support new courses and programs in technology-based entrepreneurship education in the U.S. To understand the current status of entrepreneurship education in engineering, we have been examining programs and courses offered at 340 ASEE member schools in the U.S. Our analysis identifies entrepreneurship education opportunities that are available, and will provide a framework to understand and characterize diverse approaches to offering curricular and extracurricular experiences to undergraduate engineering students. The data gathered so far illustrates the growth of entrepreneurship education and its increasing accessibility to engineering students. Over half of the ASEE listed engineering programs provided entrepreneurship options with ~25% having more substantive programs such as minors, Centers and other such structured programs based in the engineering school. This finding illustrates clearly that entrepreneurship education has becoming a widespread offering for engineering students. In our initial review of U.S. ASEE member institutions in 2008, we identified 47 programs that focused explicitly on engineering and technology entrepreneurship at the undergraduate level. In addition, we identified interdisciplinary and university-wide approaches that, while not exclusively focused on technology or engineering entrepreneurship, provide opportunities for students to acquire entrepreneurial skills to complement their undergraduate engineering major. This paper describes our approach to the analysis of the technical entrepreneurship programs and shares findings from this effort thus far. Specifically, we examined the topic areas of core and elective courses, identified where programs are administered at the university, and developed an initial framework for analyzing curricular and extracurricular opportunities (e.g., field experiences, venture development activities, internships, competitions, networks, entrepreneurship centers, staffing, and funding). Based on the work to date we conclude with thoughts on directions for future research and practice in this area.


Background/Context. Motivated by the key role that engineers play in bringing new discoveries and technologies to the market, universities have begun in the last two decades to offer entrepreneurship as part of engineering education in the U.S. This has produced a rich and diverse landscape of programs, courses and extracurricular opportunities for engineering and science students. Entrepreneurship is increasingly viewed as a necessary area of competency and a career path for engineering graduates who need to be equipped with an appropriate knowledge base, skill set and an entrepreneurial mindset. The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), an educational not for profit created in 1995 with support from The Lemelson

Shartrand, A., & Weilerstein, P., & Besterfield-Sacre, M., & Golding, K. (2010, June), Technology Entrepreneurship Programs In U.S. Engineering Schools: An Analysis Of Programs At The Undergraduate Level Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16057

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: © 2010 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