This STEP Center project is establishing a national resource that is focused on innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) for engineers. The objective of the center is to catalyze a wave of change in undergraduate engineering education in the United States through initiatives that inspire students to envision possibilities and create viable, innovative products, services, and processes for lasting economic and societal impact. It is influencing educators and students at a national level by: 1) building upon a foundation of principles from three distinct, yet complementary fields: learning sciences, engineering education, and I&E education, 2) drawing on the content and expertise of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and other institutions and partners to create a coherent set of learning materials and methods that are collected and curated, 3) providing a "Pathway to Proficiency" platform for teaching and learning about engineering innovation and entrepreneurship, 4) conducting scholarly research on how people learn to be innovative and entrepreneurial, and develop instruments and processes others can use to assess students' innovation skills, and 5) performing an on-going assessment and garnering feedback to improve/enhance its impact and reach. The center also offers a research and outreach web portal/hub for the creation, collection, and sharing of resources on how to educate the next generation of engineering innovators and entrepreneurs. This STEP Center is jointly funded by EHR's Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and ENG's Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC).
The goal of the STEP Center is to reshape undergraduate engineering education and enhance U.S. competitiveness. The STEP Center is providing a diverse set of offerings and, through a partnership with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), is implementing multi-faceted dissemination approaches that reach a large number of faculty and students across the U.S. It is developing tools and processes to help others measure I&E skills; while investigating and pursuing additional ways to enhance STEM enrollment among underrepresented groups. Through research, the STEP Center aims to discover novel insights into how engineers become more innovative and entrepreneurial and what inhibits or blocks the development of these skills.