An article by Epicenter's Tom Byers, Tina Seelig, Sheri Sheppard and Phil Weilerstein is featured in the summer issue of the National Academy of Engineering journal The Bridge.

An article by Epicenter’s Tom Byers, Tina Seelig, Sheri Sheppard and Phil Weilerstein is featured in the National Academy of Engineering journal The Bridge. The article focuses on the growing importance of entrepreneurship in engineering education, and is included as part of the journal's Summer issue on undergraduate engineering education.


Entrepreneurship: Its Role in Engineering Education
The Bridge, Summer 2013
National Academy of Engineering

It is an exciting time to be an engineer. In recent decades, the engineering workforce has helped the United States make substantial advances in communications, health, defense, infrastructure, and manufacturing (Blue et al. 2005), and the time between the emergence of new technologies and their implementation has steadily declined (Kurzweil 2001). Opportunities and challenges continue to require engineers to literally invent the future by developing breakthrough technologies that solve global problems and enhance the quality of life.

Ongoing innovation is required to address pressing problems and to maintain America’s global competitiveness, and engineering is the foundation of much of that innovation. To be prepared to enter the workforce and thrive in this ever changing global economy, engineers need to be able to collaborate effectively as leaders, in teams, and with their peers. In addition to their technical and analytical expertise, they need to be flexible, resilient, creative, empathetic, and have the ability to recognize and seize opportunities (NAE 2004; Sheppard et al. 2008). All of these skills can and should be taught to engineers as part of their formal education. It is thus the responsibility of engineering educators to instill these qualities in students to enable them to be more innovative and entrepreneurial.

In this article, we examine the importance of entrepreneurship efforts in engineering education, national support for entrepreneurship, student and faculty attitudes and engagement, noteworthy programs, and early research on these initiatives. We then offer our perspective on the future landscape for innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering education.

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