Contributed by Edmond Dougherty. This article originally appeared in KEEN Annual Report, 2019-2020. Reprinted with permission.
University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill is starting a new undergraduate multi-disciplinary engineering major with Entrepreneurially Minded Learning (EML) as a cornerstone of the program. Dr. Richard Goldberg, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, and his team identified a valuable opportunity: The ideal time to integrate EML is during curriculum creation.
As Dr. Goldberg states, “At that point, culture doesn’t have to change; it’s being created.”
Quite a few engineering programs are added each year across the US. UNC wanted to share its journey with others and proposed a collaborative program to establish mutual support for integrating new engineering programs with entrepreneurially minded learning.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Olin) joined the effort as a partner, led by Dr. Jessica Townsend, Interim Academic Vice President for External Engagement. Two decades ago, Olin was a new engineering college experiencing its own “start-up” challenges. Olin’s insights, plus its mission to “drive change in engineering education,” brought tremendous value to the project. UNC and Olin created EMERGE (Entrepreneurially Minded Engineering Resource Group for Educators).
Disrupted but not deterred by the pandemic, EMERGE was introduced in the Summer of 2020 as a free, optional add-on to the annual Olin Summer Institute. Participants taking EMERGE were led through common challenges, strategies, innovative pedagogies, and best practices for creating EML-infused engineering programs.
Participants in the inaugural program include Carthage College, Campbell University, Colorado School of Mines, Concordia University - Irvine, Elon University, Long Island University, Stevenson University, and Westmont College. Some are creating their first engineering curriculum while others are starting new programs within an established engineering school.
EMERGE continues to support the needs of the group through monthly meetings to exchange ideas, brainstorm solutions, and offer encouragement. Additional workshops are planned for the future as well.
Universities do not need to be KEEN partners to participate. Any school that is working on a new engineering effort is welcome.
“We're very thankful for this opportunity to help the greater engineering education community and learn from our peers,” Goldberg says. “As for our own status, we started a minor in Applied Sciences and Engineering that took effect in Fall 2020, and the plan is to enroll students in our major in Applied Sciences and Engineering in two years. There's quite a bit of interest, so we expect it to be quite popular on campus.”
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