“Giving students agency, empowering them, giving them knowledge and tools, mindset, the three C’s. Those are all things that are rich and fertile ground for amazing things in the future.”
Justin Henriques is an Associate Professor of Engineering at James Madison University (JMU). His teaching focus is on active learning of the entrepreneurial mindset, especially as it relates to creating useful sustainable and humanitarian technologies. Though he has been on the faculty for only eight years, his CV is packed with scores of publications, presentations, fellowships, awards, and student projects.
Four of Justin’s five degrees are engineering related, but the fifth is Philosophy.
Justin explains: “Both philosophy and engineering wrestle with complicated systems level challenges. In addition, a branch of philosophy is ethics, and there are overlays especially in decision making. In philosophy you are always trying to run thought experiments, to plan how to get to the logical conclusion to your argument. In sustainability you’re doing the same thing where you’re trying to reconcile complexities that exist inherently, in coming up with solutions that might be sustainable.”
"Before each class, I am thinking — How do I maximize students’ engagement with each other? I think the real benefit of higher ed is where you’re meeting in person, the opportunity that students get engaged with one another connects downstream to their professional careers.
"I’m also thinking of what I’m planning on doing beyond a lecture, such as active based learning and EML.
"Then there’s a third thing, the opportunity for the students to practice something around mindsets or skillsets. In this way, every part of the lecture is getting that level of review before each class.”
But students aren’t always in class; so Justin and his colleagues developed a toolkit for cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset through co-curricular experiences. The toolkit emphasizes that for faculty to reach students deeply they must provide EML co-curricular activities and events to help students no matter where they may be.
“I remember when I was first exposed to KEEN, about 2014, I was excited because it codified many things and in a simple way. This idea of the value and importance of an entrepreneurial mindset. And the simple elegance of the three C’s – Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value. I have been constantly inspired by the amazing things that people from across KEEN are doing. I’m often borrowing, using and sharing material from Engineering Unleashed.”