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Weaving Entrepreneurially Minded Learning Throughout a Civil Engineering Curriculum

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Horizontal and Vertical Integration

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Andrea L. Welker Villanova University

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Dr. Andrea L. Welker, PE, is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. Dr. Welker teaches a variety of geotechnical undergraduate and graduate classes. Her research focuses on the geotechnical aspects of stormwater control measures and the use of recycled materials in plastic pipes. In addition to teaching and performing research, she is the senior director of the Civil Engineering Division for ASEE.

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Kristin M. Sample-Lord Villanova University


Joseph Robert Yost Villanova University

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Joseph Robert Yost is a Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Villanova University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in structural mechanics and design.

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The Kern Family Foundation has provided funding to Villanova University to implement the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) initiative. This nearly decade-old initiative seeks to instill concepts of Entrepreneurially Minded Learning (EML) into the undergraduate engineering curriculum. EML emphasizes educating the “whole engineer” by supplementing traditional engineering theory with nontechnical concepts related to curiosity, connections, and creating value (the three Cs). “Curiosity” encourages students to investigate and question the society that surrounds them within the context of the technical material they are learning in class. In short, it encourages students to be problem seekers and definers as opposed to just problem solvers. Students are then ready to make “Connections” to synthesize new and old knowledge to create innovative solutions to problems. Lastly, “Creating Value” is about improving society and quality of life by creatively applying their engineering skills. It is important to note that this approach to education is not about creating start-ups or commercial products, rather, it is a way to foster inventive thinking. Nearly half of the faculty members in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department have participated in KEEN workshops that focus on implementation of EML in their respective courses. These faculty have woven EML throughout the CEE curriculum to ensure that students have assignments that relate to the three Cs every semester from freshman to senior year. These assignments are also used to fulfill ABET and ASCE Civil Engineering Program Criteria. This paper will describe class assignments for courses with EML content, extra- and co-curricular EML activities, the relationship between EML and ABET criterion 3 and the ASCE Civil Engineering Program Criteria, and provide thoughts on linking EML to educational assessment.

Welker, A. L., & Sample-Lord, K. M., & Yost, J. R. (2017, June), Weaving Entrepreneurially Minded Learning Throughout a Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29112

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