Student-centered entrepreneurial design education to foster engineering attitudes, identities, and motivations

Project: Research project

Project Details


With support from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), this Track 1 project aims to examine student attitudes, identities, and motivations for engineering to develop contextualized entrepreneurial design learning modules. Entrepreneurship education continues to grow and become established as an educational platform for developing entrepreneurially skilled and entrepreneurially minded graduates in engineering and other STEM fields. In engineering, entrepreneurship education programs (EEPs) provide experiential exposure to the entrepreneurial environment through curricular and co-curricular offerings, that prepare future engineers to be competitive in the modern-day innovation economy. Research evidence supports the benefits of EEPs on a variety of student learning outcomes and attitudes about entrepreneurship, and notes a secondary positive impact on student retention. Despite this research-based evidence and a notable mention in national reports, entrepreneurship education programs require significant resources, which limits their broad implementation at resource-limited institutions. However, the parallels between engineering design and entrepreneurship underscore the possibility of integrating design and entrepreneurship education at institutions with limited resources. The proposed project leverages entrepreneurship and design education as an instructional platform at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) to improve attitudes and motivations for engineering among undergraduate students.The project follows an asset-based approach to create learning experiences that value what students at an HSI bring to the educational environment through their diverse backgrounds, and real-life experiences. Specifically, the work is guided by the following specific aims: Aim 1: examine detailed factors that impact students’ attitudes, identities, and motivations for engineering prior to building contextualized entrepreneurial design learning modules; Aim 2: develop and implement contextualized entrepreneurial design learning modules in introductory engineering design courses; and Aim 3: perform formative and summative assessments on the impacts of entrepreneurial design learning modules. Using qualitative focus groups and quantitative student surveys as the data source, the project will use a multi-methods approach to examine the research questions. 1) What factors affect students’ attitudes, identities, and motivations for engineering; and 2) in what ways and to what extent are students’ attitudes, identities, and motivations toward engineering impacted by their engagement in the entrepreneurial design learning modules? The work will be rooted in pertinent literature on measures of student motivations, engineering attitudes, engineering identities, and other evidence-based best practices. The project is expected to provide an in-depth understanding of student attitudes and motivations from minoritized backgrounds, and build contextualized learning modules for these students. The project outcomes will be delivered as workshops to support a diverse set of educators in their teaching. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at HSIs. Projects supported by the HSI Program will also generate new knowledge on how to achieve these aims.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date9/1/238/31/26


  • National Science Foundation: $298,779.00


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