Current Projects

Investigating Entrepreneurship Education as a Means to Developing the 21st Century Engineer

NSF-IUSE 1504257

This project at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will help to ensure that engineers continue to drive economic development and innovation by developing ways to measure and assess entrepreneurial ability in undergraduate engineering students. Continued innovation is central to national security and economic growth. Simultaneously the professional context for the future engineer is changing. Graduates must be not only technically proficient, but also able to identify unmet needs, solve unfamiliar problems under time constraints, and adapt to an increasing rate of technological change. Engineering graduates must be capable of serving as technological leaders in diverse circumstances ranging from small start-up companies to globally-dispersed corporations. In response to changing career needs, higher education institutions are reforming how they train engineers, and training in entrepreneurship is becoming more widespread in engineering education. This work will develop assessment materials that can be used to help define and assess entrepreneurial ability in engineering students as that ability is developed within engineering-based entrepreneurship programs.

This project will fill an important need in promoting increased entrepreneurial ability among engineering graduates. Traditional indicators of entrepreneurial ability are based on large-scale business outcomes such as success of start-up companies or ability to attract capital investment. Engineering programs seeking to increase and develop the entrepreneurial ability of engineering students need methods to identify and assess entrepreneurial ability in the developmental stages in the context of technological innovation. To help engineering entrepreneurship education bridge the gap between traditional business entrepreneurship education and the career needs of the 21st century engineer, this study will establish the fundamental concepts engineering students can gain from entrepreneurship education; generate outcome measures aligned with the goals of entrepreneurship education for engineers; conduct a pilot evaluation; and develop teaching assessment materials that can be used by engineering faculty. Work will be conducted through a collaboration between engineering faculty with entrepreneurial experience and education researchers. The results of this work will offer faculty and students a better understanding of the core skills and learning outcomes that can be expected from an engineering entrepreneurship curriculum.

Examining the Effect of Entrepreneurial Education Pedagogy on the Development of Women in STEM

NSF-REE 1531533

The importance of entrepreneurship and innovation is becoming more widely recognized. Recently, higher education institutions have recognized their responsibility in creating a more entrepreneurially minded workforce and have begun to broaden entrepreneurship education beyond the traditional business school model of business fundamentals, case studies, and start-­up companies. In doing so, new approaches to teaching entrepreneurship have been developed, encouraging students to take a more active role in and outside of the classroom. How these aspects of entrepreneurship education influence women’s engagement and involvement has yet to be studied. In many instances, these approaches involve a combination of competition and problem-based, team-­oriented learning. Integration of these approaches may influence students in different ways, and there may be differential effects based on gender, race, culture or socioeconomic class. Educational programs are relying on students to self-­select into these highly competitive non-­traditional learning environments. The purpose of this grant is to explore the influence of these new learning environments on student engagement, particularly for women. Results from this research are critical as the nation moves to find ways to develop a diverse, innovative workforce for the 21st century. These results will help higher education institutions understand how women choose to engage in entrepreneurship educational programs and how programs influence women to become involved in innovation after graduation.

This project will engage in a mixed methods study to examine relationships between entrepreneurship pedagogy and women’s engagement in entrepreneurship education and innovation post-­graduation. This study will leverage UM Learning Analytics student learning data. Four research questions will drive the work: 1) Who are the students that choose to engage, or not, in particular entrepreneurship educational opportunities and how do these choices differ with gender?; 2) Why do students choose to engage, or not, in particular entrepreneurship educational opportunities, and how do these choices differ with gender?; 3) What are the benefits to students of particular entrepreneurship education activities, and how do these benefits differ with gender? This includes how students perceive their fit within the entrepreneurship program as well as their general perceptions of the program; 4) How do particular entrepreneurship educational opportunities impact the current work of former students, including development of entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, and how do impacts differ with gender? The unique ability to use institutional learning analytics data and large scale alumni surveys to inform targeted in-­depth interviews will offer the most comprehensive look at the impact of engineering entrepreneurship education on gender to date.

This project at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will help to ensure that engineers continue to drive economic development and innovation by developing ways to measure and assess entrepreneurial ability in undergraduate engineering students. Continued innovation is central to national security and economic growth. Simultaneously the professional context for the future engineer is changing. Graduates must be not only technically proficient, but also able to identify unmet needs, solve unfamiliar problems under time constraints, and adapt to an increasing rate of technological change. Engineering graduates must be capable of serving as technological leaders in diverse circumstances ranging from small start-up companies to globally-dispersed corporations. In response to changing career needs, higher education institutions are reforming how they train engineers, and training in entrepreneurship is becoming more widespread in engineering education. This work will develop assessment materials that can be used to help define and assess entrepreneurial ability in engineering students as that ability is developed within engineering-based entrepreneurship programs.