Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Engineering--Study and teaching, Entrepreneurship, Personality assessment


Engineering Education | Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering


In recent years, numerous engineering programs around the country have introduced curricular revisions and co-curricular activities to develop entrepreneurial skills in students. The primary motivation of these efforts is to graduate engineering students who can rapidly contribute to the economic growth of the nation through entrepreneurship and innovation. A precursor to launching startups or creating new products or services is the development of an entrepreneurial mindset. Efforts focused on developing an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students through curricular and co-curricular activities are emerging from the many partner institutions of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)1. As these efforts strengthen, approaches to assess the entrepreneurial mindset have also been developed. A popular approach is the use of survey instruments. Lichtenstein and Zappe2 reviewed 22 instruments developed to assess entrepreneurial mindset. We have developed a rigorously validated assessment instrument to explore the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering and computer science students. This instrument was developed based on a framework in which an entrepreneurially minded engineer is defined as one who possesses curiosity about our changing world, habitually makes connections to gain insight from many sources of information, and focuses on creating value for others. The italicized words, referred to as the 3C’s, form the core of this framework which was developed by the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)1. The instrument consists of 50 questions loaded on 14 factors that are associated with learning outcomes based on the 3C’s. The instrument was administered to first-year and senior engineering students in two consecutive years and 394 valid samples were collected. Statistical analyses were performed to answer the following research questions: 1. How diversified is the entrepreneurial mindset of first-year students when they enter the university? 2. How diversified is the entrepreneurial mindset of seniors when they complete their program? 3. How does the entrepreneurial mindset of students evolve through traditional engineering and computer science undergraduate experiences? 4. Are there differences in the entrepreneurial mindset between male and female students? 5. How does family background influence the entrepreneurial mindset?

By investigating the answers to these research questions, we hope to answer the broader question: How can engineering and computer science undergraduate programs be revised to enhance entrepreneurial mindset growth as we strive to meet the challenges of “Educating the Engineer of 2020”?


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Publisher Citation

Li, C. Q., Harichandran, R. S., Erdil, N. O., Nocito-Gobel, J., & Carnasciali, M. (2018, June), Investigating the Entrepreneurial Mindset of Engineering and Computer Science Students. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah.



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