Curiosity is a component of the entrepreneurial mindset. It is the first of what we call the 3C’s (Curiosity, Connections, Creating Value).
For engineers to succeed in a world with rapidly changing needs and tools, they need a sense of curiosity. Faculty who instill a spirit of curiosity equip students to create extraordinary results.
You can be curious about a big thing. "I wonder if a person could walk on the moon."
You can be curious about a small thing. "I wonder if we could prevent socks from clinging together in the dryer."
Big or small, questioning leads us to solutions. Too little curiosity in the classroom can cause boredom. Too much can create anxiety. How do you reach the right balance?
Do you believe curiosity is an effort of will?
Mythbusters co-host, Jamie Hyneman, does.
“[Curiosity] is something that’s effectively creativity at its core," he states. "It’s underappreciated as far as engineering is concerned. Engineering is something that pervades our entire lives. Engineers need to be curious. That’s the hard part and the most valuable part.”
The more you expose students to situations that stimulate their curiosity, the more curiosity becomes a mental habit.
So what can faculty do to inspire curiosity in students?
Dr. Margot Vigeant (Bucknell University) shares the results of being purposefully curious about curiosity to better understand how well faculty were fostering the entrepreneurial mindset.
As faculty, we want to deliberately create situations where it's more likely our students will be curious and self-motivated. Above anything else, students are inspired by "real problems."