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.