Women STEM faculty’s intentions to engage in entrepreneurship education programs

Prateek Shekhar, Jacqueline Handley, Aida Lopez Ruiz, Lisa Bosman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recognizing the socioeconomic importance of STEM-based entrepreneurial initiatives, several entrepreneurship education programs (EEPs) have been initiated to foster and incentivize the translational of academic scientific and technological research into commercially offered products. However, STEM-focused entrepreneurship continues to be challenged by diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, with limited research examining women STEM faculty’s perspectives in regard with EEPs. We argue that to develop EEPs that are inclusive to women, one of the foremost needs is to better understand their intentions behind engagement in EEPs. The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate women STEM faculty’s intentions to engage in entrepreneurship education programs. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 self-identified women STEM faculty who have (n = 13), and have not participated (n = 19) in EEPs. The participants represented different STEM fields and were situated across multiple institutions in the USA. Five core themes emerged from analyzing the qualitative interviews using first and second cycle coding methods. These themes identify different intentions behind women STEM faculty’s engagement in entrepreneurship programming—translation intent, innovation intent, intent to engage students, personal intent, and entrepreneurial intent. Overall, the findings suggest that the singular “venture-creation” focus in EEPs does not sufficiently capture the varied intentions that inform women STEM faculty’s engagement in EEPs. Implications of the findings in regard with improving inclusivity in entrepreneurship program development and implementation, and entrepreneurship education research are discussed. We call for further research that examines how women STEM faculty navigate academic entrepreneurial pathways that include broader issues within the mainstream entrepreneurial ecosystems. We anticipate that continued research efforts paired with administrative implementations will assist in addressing systemic issues and contribute to the broadening participation of STEM women faculty in EEPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1865-1884
Number of pages20
JournalHigher Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • Diversity
  • Entrepreneurship education
  • Faculty
  • STEM


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