This is a Work in Progress. Goals of becoming more entrepreneurial have placed considerable pressure on institutions of higher education to generate educational programs that are consistent with the entrepreneurial mindset. Surpassing business programs, engineering education has had an exponential growth of entrepreneurship instruction in curricula and publications related to the topic. However, there are still many conceptual and methodological challenges described in recent literature left unmet by current assessment methods, which include the following: (1) Entrepreneurship is often conceived as business creation, rather than a set of competencies relevant in all organizational settings. (2) The entrepreneurial mindset is often used to separate students (e.g., entrepreneurial engineers vs. traditional engineers). (3) Domain-specific and domain-general aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset are not explicitly discussed. (4) Embeddedness in the territorial and temporal context is not systematically explored. For example, literature on entrepreneurship does not specifically account for cultural differences, institutional context, or the ecosystem in which learning occurs. (5) Educational theories are not properly incorporated. (6) Current assessment methods often operationalize the entrepreneurial mindset through broader sub-constructs than the main construct (loss of specificity). (7) Assessment methods usually do not discuss the ethical dimension of entrepreneurship, or, put another way, how the entrepreneurial mindset should be conceptualized in the context of broader societal implications. As an international and interdisciplinary research team, we seek to develop a new survey to assess the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students. In the summer of 2019, the team jointly developed research protocols to conduct qualitative workshops with students and staff. An initial set of dimensions of the entrepreneurial mindset was identified in the literature. These components or dimensions were used to guide focus groups with students and staff about (1) Behaviors, (2) Examples, and (3) Educational practices associated with an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering. We recruited engineering professors, engineering education scholars, and current engineering students at the University of Maryland and the Catholic University of Chile for this study between May and July 2019. We used our network of engineering education scholars to identify professors and students who might be interested in this study. We also used snowball and purposive sampling to identify faculty and students who teach and learn about support entrepreneurship, respectively. In the next two years, a preliminary quantitative version of the instrument will be applied to an incrementally larger body American and Chilean students in order to evaluate its utility across a much larger sample size. Through this research effort and a critical review of the literature, we aim to produce a more comprehensive and situated method for defining and articulating the entrepreneurial mindset for stakeholders in engineering education. Long-term implications for this project include an international deployment of this survey at engineering schools across both countries.
The full paper will be available to logged in and registered conference attendees once the conference starts on
June 22, 2020, and to all visitors after the conference ends on June 26, 2021
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.