Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Impact of the Entrepreneurial Mindset for Innovative Teaching (EMIT) Academy

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Dr. Sarah Zappe is Research Professor and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement and testing. In her position, Sarah is responsible for developing instructional support programs for faculty, providing evaluation support for educational proposals and projects, and working with faculty to publish educational research. Her research interests primarily involve creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.

visit author page


Stephanie Cutler Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Dr. Stephanie Cutler has degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. She is an Assistant Research Professor and the Assessment and Instructional Support Specialist in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State as well as a co-founder of Zappe and Cutler Educational Consulting, LLC. Her primary research interest include faculty development, the peer review process, the doctoral experience, and the adoption of evidence-based teaching strategies.

visit author page


Thomas A. Litzinger Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Thomas A. Litzinger is Director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. His work in engineering education involves curricular reform, teaching and learning innovations, assessment, and faculty development. Dr. Litzinger has more than 50 publications related to engineering education including lead authorship of an invited article in the 100th Anniversary issue of JEE and for an invited chapter on translation of research to practice for the first edition of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. He serves as an Associate Editor for Advances in Engineering Education and on the Advisory Board for the Journal of Engineering Education. He was selected as a Fellow of ASEE in 2008 and of ASME in 2012. He holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from RPI, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This work-in-progress paper describes the development and evaluation of an innovative faculty development initiative that incorporates entrepreneurial mindset (EM) and entrepreneurship practices into the educational change process. In 2020, as a result of grant from KEEN and the Mentorship 360 Project at Arizona State University, a teaching and learning center housed in the College of Engineering at a large research-focused university launched a new initiative called the Entrepreneurial Mindset for Innovative Teaching (EMIT) Academy. The EMIT Academy makes parallels between principles associated with entrepreneurship and quality teaching to help faculty engage in a critical reflection of their course, conduct “customer” discovery in their courses, and revise their courses.

As we begin, consider the processes and mindset associated with being an entrepreneur. A successful entrepreneur will develop a business plan and conduct customer discovery, then iterate and pivot in the face of failure. Entrepreneurs need to be curious and creative, to demonstrate the value of their product or service, and to make connections among multiple sources of information. Now consider the processes and mindset associated with teaching. Successful teachers will engage in a course planning process, periodically gather information from students on their learning and on their own teaching effectiveness, and adjust teaching strategies as appropriate. A good teacher develops instructional activities that are engaging to students, creates a valuable learning experience for students, and integrates many sources of information to provide a seamless instructional environment. The practices and mindset associated with quality teaching mirror practices of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset.

The EMIT Academy uses the metaphor of teaching as entrepreneurship to frame a faculty development program for engineering faculty. The EMIT Academy was modeled on the NSF-funded Innovation Corps (iCorps) experience. In iCorps, faculty work through a curriculum to help bring technology concepts to market. In the EMIT Academy, faculty applied similar entrepreneurial principles and processes as iCorps to teaching innovation and evaluation. After participating in the Academy, participants should be able to: 1) identify how entrepreneurial ideas and principles can be used to enhance a course, 2) critically reflect on a course by completing a teaching version of the business canvas model, identify areas of opportunity for change in their courses to better meet the needs of students, 4) collect and interpret data from a “customer discovery” process of their students’ perceived needs for their course, and 5) redesign their course using the Entrepreneurial Teaching Model and information from the customer discovery process.

In summer of 2020, nine faculty members participated in the EMIT Academy. Several guiding research questions were used to investigate impact and evaluate the Academy: 1) How do faculty conceptions of entrepreneurship and its application to teaching change as a result of participating in the Academy? 2) What are the perceived affordances and barriers to the adoption/adaption of innovative instructional practices and do these change as a result of participation? 3) How do faculty members’ instructional practices change as a result of participation? 4) How can the EMIT Academy be improved for future cohorts? To answer these questions, all participants completed in a pre-workshop interview and an immediate post-workshop survey. In addition, they will also interviewed in late fall of 2020, after they have had a chance to teach their revised course. All interviews will be transcribed and coded using an iterative, deductive coding process. This work-in-progress paper will provide a detailed overview of the Academy and initial results of the interviews and survey.

Zappe, S. E., & Cutler, S., & Litzinger, T. A. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Impact of the Entrepreneurial Mindset for Innovative Teaching (EMIT) Academy Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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: © 2021 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