Teaching to innovate: Beliefs and perceptions of instructors who teach entrepreneurship to engineering students

Sarah Zappe, Kirsten Hochstedt, Elizabeth Kisenwether, Angela Shartrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The number of entrepreneurship programs at universities targeting engineering students has grown substantially in the last decade. However, few research studies have examined the practices and beliefs of instructors in these programs. Understanding these beliefs will help the development of pedagogical and theoretical models to drive entrepreneurship education. The purpose of this paper is to gather information on instructors' beliefs and teaching practices relating to engineering entrepreneurship education. Three research questions were addressed in the study: 1)How do faculty members define the entrepreneurial mindset? 2)Do faculty members believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is something that can be developed? 3)How do faculty members teach entrepreneurship; is there a relationship between their teaching practices and their beliefs? The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, twenty-six instructors of entrepreneurship participated in an in-depth structured interview focusing on their perceptions of entrepreneurship education. The results of this study led to the construction of an online survey that was administered to 37 instructors at three institutions in the second phase of the study. Results showed that faculty tended to believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is a function of both innate characteristics and skills that can be built through instruction. Faculty also felt that entrepreneurship programs should focus on venture and be taught through formal programs. The participants advocated for the use of experiential learning for teaching entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 18 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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