Collaborative Research: Assessing Technical Entrepreneurship Learning in Engineering Education
University of Pittsburgh
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University of Pittsburgh
Engineering - Other (59) The project, a collaborative effort between the University of Pittsburgh and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), is building on previous work to investigate the teaching and learning of entrepreneurship in engineering programs and defining ways to measure changes in entrepreneurial knowledge and thinking. The investigators are conducting a nationwide study to determine the status of entrepreneurship education in 330 engineering schools across the U.S. and to identify similar types of approaches using a clustering algorithm. Specifically, they are collecting information on programs and courses in entrepreneurship, other extracurricular learning opportunities and resources for entrepreneurship, and the individuals catalyzing entrepreneurship education in each context. With this data they are selecting a representative sample of 30 to 35 schools and performing an in-depth cross-institutional analysis of students' learning in upper-level engineering courses that address entrepreneurship and related topics. In doing this, they are administering two assessment instruments that have been developed under separate funding: a knowledge inventory that measures self-reported familiarity with entrepreneurial concepts and terms and an entrepreneurial \"mindset\" rubric that appraises students' written responses to engineering-based entrepreneurship cases. Through statistical and modeling efforts, they are mapping student outcomes directly to teaching practices and institutional characteristics. With these results, they are developing guidelines for best practices in teaching, program development, and assessment. Under the leadership of an independent evaluator, the project is using expert analysis of the instruments and protocols, data modeling, and workshop participation and survey data to conduct formative and summative evaluation. Results are being disseminated through influential faculty and entrepreneurial leaders in engineering using NCIIA's network, through journal publications, through conference presentations for engineering education and entrepreneurial audiences, and through faculty workshops. Broader impacts include the dissemination of the results and the instruments and protocols, especially through faculty workshops and the NCIIA network, and by helping to meet a need in industry for engineers with entrepreneurial skills.