Over the past three years, the Epicenter research team has been conducting a set of large, multi-method, national studies of entrepreneurship in engineering collectively known as the Fostering Innovative Generations Studies, or FIGS. As part of FIGS, the team is pursuing three major Research Questions (RQs). Each of these questions addresses an important gap in existing knowledge about entrepreneurship education for engineers:
Here is a summary of our three core questions:
RESEARCH QUESTION 1 - PROGRAM MODELSWhat are current models of educating engineers for entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial thinking?
In this research, the unit of analysis is the entrepreneurship program, and the focus is on programmatic contexts for entrepreneurship learning. This mixed-methods research builds on the work of Standish-Kuon and Rice (2002), Shartrand et al. (2010), Besterfield-Sacre et al. (2011), and Duval-Couetil, Shartrand, and Reed (forthcoming).
See here for a link to our recent presentation on RQ1 at the OPEN 2014 conference in San Jose, CA.
RESEARCH QUESTION 2 - STUDENTS' INTERESTS AND GOALS
What are undergraduate engineering students’ innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements? How do these interests, abilities, and achievements change over time? Which educational and workplace environments/experiences influence the development of their innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements?
RESEARCH QUESTION 3 - CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENTHow can fundamental engineering curricula be reframed to stimulate integrative thinking, especially entrepreneurial thinking?
In this research, the unit of analysis is the technical engineering classroom (inclusive of faculty, students, and curricula), and the focus is on the process of entrepreneurship learning in the context of a statics course. This work draws from Kolb’s learning theory and studies of scenario-based learning experiences. This research has resulted in an award-winning conference paper (see Schar et al.).
Initially tested at Stanford, the Scenario Based Learning techniques in this research are currently being rolled out and tested at University of Wisconsin (Madison) and UC-Merced.
RESEARCH COMMUNITYAnother top goal of the Epicenter Research Team has been to build and strengthen a community of entrepreneurship researchers, particularly in and around engineering. We have framed this as our fourth FIGS study; here, our research question is "What are the most effective strategies for fostering connections and community in the engineering entrepreneurship space?"
As part of our work, we have designed and hosted several events to bring together entrepreneurship researchers from a variety of backgrounds. We held three sessions at OPEN 2012, OPEN 2013, and OPEN 2014, respectively, to introduce attendees to the latest research and evaluation in the field.
In May 2012, we hosted an Epicenter Research Workshop at Stanford, where we brought together 27 scholars, leaders, and students in the fields of engineering and entrepreneurship education for an intensive, day-long workshop. In August 2014, we hosted the first Epicenter Research Summit, again at Stanford. The Summit included 70 researchers and practitioners from the U.S. and Europe.
Epicenter Research Summit
The first Epicenter Research Summit was held at Stanford University, August 4-5, 2014. View presentations, session summaries, posters, photos and more »
Lintl, Florian M., Jin, Qu, Gilmartin, Shannon, Chen, Helen L., Schar, Mark, Sheppard, Sheri. "Starter or Joiner, Market or Socially-Oriented: Predicting Career Choice Among Undergraduate Engineering and Business Students." Read more and download the PDF
* Award: 2nd place, best research paper, ASEE Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division (ENT) 2015
Nilsen, Elizabeth, Matthew, Victoria, Shartrand, Angela, & Monroe-White, Thema. "Stimulating and Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Lessons from Institutions on the Front Lines." 2015 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2015. Read more and download the PDF
Matthew, Victoria, Monroe-White, Thema, Turrentine, Ari, Shartrand, Angela, & Shashikant, Amit. "Integrating Entrepreneurship into Capstone Design: An Exploration of Faculty Perceptions and Practices." 2015 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2015. Read more and download the PDF
Rodriguez, Janna, Chen, Helen L., Sheppard, Sheri, Leifer, Larry & Jin, Qu. "Exploring the Interest and Intention of Entrepreneurship in Engineering Alumni." 2015 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2015. Read more and download the PDF
* Award: honorable mention, best research paper, ASEE Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division (ENT) 2015
Sheppard, Sheri, Gilmartin, Shannon, Chen, Helen L., Besterfield-Sacre, Mary E., Duval-Couetil, Nathalie, Shartrand, Angela, Moore, Laurie, Costache, Emanuel, Mihaela, Andreea, Jin, Qu, Ling, Calvin, Lintl, Florian Michael, Britos Cavagnaro, Leticia C., Fasihuddin, Humera, & Breed, Anna K. "Exploring What We Don't Know About Entrepreneurship Education for Engineers." 2015 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2015. Read more and download the PDF
Giersch, Sarah, & McMartin, Flora. "Promising Models and Practices to Support Change in Entrepreneurship Education." Epicenter Technical Brief 2. Stanford, CA and Hadley, MA: National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation. March 2014. Read more and download the PDF
Giersch, Sarah, McMartin, Flora, Nilsen, Elizabeth, Sheppard, Sheri, & Weilerstein, Phil. "Supporting Change in Entrepreneurship Education: Creating a Faculty Development Program Grounded in Results from a Literature Review." 2014 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2014. Read more and download the PDF
* Award: 1st place, best research paper, ASEE Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division (ENT) 2014
Jin, Qu, Gilmartin, Shannon, Sheppard, Sheri, & Chen, Helen. "Comparing Engineering and Business Undergraduate Students’ Entrepreneurial Interests and Characteristics." 2014 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2014. Read more and download the PDF
* Award: 2nd place, best research paper, ASEE Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division (ENT) 2014
Rodriguez, Janna, Chen, Helen, Sheppard, Sheri, Jin, Qu, & Brunhaver, Samantha. "Exploring Entrepreneurial Characteristics and Experiences of Engineering Alumni." 2014 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2014. Read more and download the PDF
Schar, Mark, et al. "Bending Moments to Business Models: Integrating an Entrepreneurship Case Study as Part of Core Mechanical Engineering Curriculum." 2013 ASEE Annual Conference, June 2013. Read the paper at asee.org
Contact Sheri Sheppard to find out how to collaborate with our research community.
Senior Research Advisors
OPEN 2014 Presentation
OPEN 2012 Presentation
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