Asee peer logo

The Enterprise Program At Michigan Technological University

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.999.1 - 6.999.10

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mark Plichta

author page

Mary Raber

Download Paper |

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

Session 3454

The Enterprise Program at Michigan Technological University

Mark R. Plichta, Mary Raber College of Engineering Michigan Technological University


Michigan Technological University recently restructured its entire curricular offering in associa- tion with an academic calendar change from quarters to semesters. As part of this restructuring the university developed the Enterprise Program, a new and innovative experience that provides all students on campus, but especially engineering majors, an opportunity to start-up and operate their own business. Development and implementation of this program was made possible in large part through support from the National Science Foundation's Action Agenda Initiative for Sys- temic Engineering Education Reform. Program development has been a collaborative effort between faculty in the College of Engineering, the College of Sciences and Arts, and the School of Business and Economics. Within engineering programs the philosophy behind the Enterprise Program is to provide a flexible curricular structure that leads to a traditional engineering degree while at the same time enabling students to participate in the operation of a real enterprise over multiple years. During the first year of the program (AY2000-01) eleven enterprises have been established. More than 230 students from 19 disciplines are involved. Based on the interest and enthusiasm of both industry and the students, the program is expected to double in size during the second year. This paper presents the curricular structure of the Enterprise Program as well as the preliminary assessment during the first year of the program.

I. Introduction

As part of the engineering curricular development at Michigan Technological University (MTU) associated with the calendar conversion from quarters to semesters each engineering department was required to construct their new curricula within several college prescribed boundary condi- tions. One of the constraints relevant to this paper was the required inclusion of a major design experience, preferably interdisciplinary in nature. As such, two options have been made available to all students. Within the 'traditional' path a year-long, 6-semester credit senior design sequence is available in each engineering degree program. This common structure facilitates the formation of interdisciplinary teams when needed. The second option available to students, still leading to the same engineering degree, is referred to as the 'Enterprise' path and includes a greater emphasis on communications and business aspects of the engineering profession.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Plichta, M., & Raber, M. (2001, June), The Enterprise Program At Michigan Technological University Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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: © 2001 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