The Impact of Entrepreneurship
on Engineering Curricula
J. Walsh, PE &
Thomas K. Miller III,
North Carolina State University
The global economy is forcing significant change in
the dynamics of industry and in educating our engineering
workforce. This paper describes the new Engineering
Entrepreneurs Program (EEP) curriculum at North Carolina
State University. Under a grant from the NCIIA, the
EEP is developing a curriculum that creates a full-immersion
undergraduate educational environment for new product
development. As such, it is designed to match the real-world
entrepreneurial experience of new product and business
development. It is composed of a sequence of three classes.
At the end of this sequence the students will be able
to create a project development plan, work as part of
a team in roles of both employee and leader, effectively
lead and manage people, understand the basics of business
planning and the fundamentals of engineering, create
a straightforward business plan, understand corporate
formation and the importance of intellectual property,
and understand and create fundamental financial projections.
The change brought forth on industry and education by
the new global economy provides significant new opportunities
to those ready and willing to take advantage of them.
Gone are the days when getting a job at large corporations,
such as HP, IBM and AT&T meant a career secure through
to retirement. What were once the high-paying, high-tech
engineering jobs here in the United States are now easily
outsourced to countries such as China and Russia. What
Sir Francis Bacon stated in the 17th century is still
apropos today: “Knowledge is power.” What
we know now is that 1) outsourcing of traditional high-tech
engineering jobs is here to stay, and 2) the Internet
is slowly leveling the worldwide educational playing
field, and the rate of leveling is steadily increasing.
If students worldwide have access to the same information
database we do, then what new knowledge must we obtain
in order to compete both now and in the future? Among
other things, United States graduating engineers need
more than physics, math, statics, economics, etc., to
sustain success in the global economy. They need to
know the fundamentals of what makes a product and how
they are designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold.
In addition, they must know how to organize, work on
and manage a team; be able to manage a project; and
understand the fundamentals of business planning.
>>Read the peer-reviewed paper here (PDF)