Faculty beliefs of entrepreneurship and design education: An exploratory study comparing entrepreneurship and design faculty

Sarah E. Zappe, Kirsten Susan Hochstedt, Elizabeth C. Kisenwether

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Engineering capstone design and certain entrepreneurship courses have some similarities in terms of student outcomes, course structure, and instructional methods. Both types of courses have the tendency to be less structured than traditional courses and utilize teaching methods such as problem-based or project-based learning. The goals relating to the professional skill set are often similar and can include communication, writing, business, and team skills. Entrepreneurship instructors often focus on the development of the "entrepreneurial mindset" while design instructors focus on the development of "design thinking," characteristics that have some similarities. The role of the teacher in both areas is less likely to be a lecturer, but rather as a coach or a guide that assists students in completing a longer-term project. Many capstone courses have an industry component and can even have an entrepreneurial component. The purpose of this paper is to compare the teaching beliefs and practices of instructors of capstone design courses and entrepreneurship courses. The following research questions will be used to compare the beliefs of capstone versus entrepreneurship instructors: 1. What are the teaching practices of senior design versus entrepreneurship instructors? 2. How do instructors feel that entrepreneurship should be taught at the university to engineering students? 3. Do faculty members believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is something that can be developed or is it innate? A total of 37 instructors of capstone design courses and engineering entrepreneurship courses at three large public institutions were invited to participate in an online survey. The preliminary results show some interesting similarities and differences between the two groups of instructors. Both groups reported using similar teaching practices, with student-led presentations, mentoring and coaching students, use of personal experiences, and guest speakers as the most frequently used techniques in their courses. Regarding the nature of the entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurship educators were more likely to believe that the necessary characteristics to be an entrepreneur are mostly developed; capstone design instructors were more likely to feel these characteristics were innate. While this may not be surprising given the fact that entrepreneurship instructors are teaching students the necessary skills to become an entrepreneur, this finding can have implications for other faculty when advising students on which courses or minors to explore.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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