As a partner institution of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), LTU has access to a multitude of resources and opportunities that has transformed the University. “LTU students that graduate today are better equipped to make a difference in the world than students who graduated 10 years ago,” advises Dr. Maria Vaz, LTU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Collaboration among faculty members cultivates sharing best practices and refining the entrepreneurial minded learning (EML) pedagogy.
LTU underwent a cultural reconstruction instituting change at every level of our University ushering in an era of improved engineering education. Four pivotal areas directly illustrate this revolutionary transformation: infrastructure, leadership & faculty, curriculum, and students.
Infrastructure was reconstructed in order to support and encourage changes at every level of the University. LTU increased its facilities by adding new engineering studios and laboratories.
A framework has been developed through the several KEEN educational partners that instill the entrepreneurial mindset without sacrificing the skillset necessary for a chosen profession. This mindset includes identifying opportunities to create value, conveying solutions to issues in economic terms, applying creative answers to ambiguous problems, persisting through failure, and managing risk. Our transformational cornerstone turned on merging a technical skills curriculum with entrepreneurial minded learning (EML). Many courses from the freshman to the senior year, including calculus, the sciences, communication offer student experiences that help students to develop entrepreneurial skills. The entrepreneurial mindset is now an essential element of LTU engineering degrees.
In addition, all students earning an engineering degree will advance through the Interdisciplinary Design & Entrepreneurial Applications Sequence (IDEAS), a four-year entrepreneurial engineering curriculum. The essential elements of IDEAS are as follows:
- Freshmen-year: Interdisciplinary first year design and mindset course. Discipline-specific design course
- Sophomore-year: Sophomore Entrepreneurial Engineering Design Studio (SEEDS)
- Junior-year: Leadership & Professional Ethics course
- Senior-year: Capstone Design (interdisciplinary or discipline-specific)
EML Faculty training
Leadership and faculty were trained and provided with tools necessary to enable them to effect change through their leadership and instructional pedagogies greatly impacting the educational experience of students. The instructional components are complimented by co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, such as LESA projects, Innovation Encounter, and the Entrepreneurial Internship program.
Enhancing the student experience
The entrepreneurial mindset is infused into the student experience, cultivated through leadership, faculty facilitation, and infrastructural support. Students were and continue to be equipped with skills necessary to further the EML movement among their peers.
Our gratitude and appreciation to the Kern Family Foundation (KFF) for their visionary support toward improving the quality of undergraduate engineering education. KFF continues to offer leading edge perspective shaping engineering education by connecting engineering schools championing the EML pedagogy. KEEN provides a ‘venue’ for faculty to collaborate. Information sharing and exchanging ideas sharpen skills and lead to offering significantly higher quality education.