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Ohio State joins KEEN to prepare engineers with entrepreneurial mindset

The Ohio State University is the latest institution to join the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)—a coalition of engineering programs from across the nation committed to preparing its students with an entrepreneurial spirit.

With nearly 30 partnering institutions, KEEN has become a network of hundreds of engineering faculty working together to develop best practices in engineering education. By fostering curiosity, connections and meaningful work, KEEN helps engineering students create personal, economic and societal value.

Ohio State’s involvement in the partnership will be led by the College of Engineering’s Department of Engineering Education (EED). With the college’s commitment to bringing hands-on, experiential learning to as many students as possible, joining KEEN seemed like a natural fit, said EED Associate Chair Lisa Abrams.

“KEEN is very interested in looking at how their concepts can scale, particularly entrepreneurial-minded learning,” added EED Chair Monica F. Cox. “Many of the other universities in the network to date have been smaller in size or engineering specialty schools, but with Ohio State being a public institution, they’re able to engage across a really diverse student population.”

Cox said Ohio State’s membership is the result of a team-based effort among members of the EED, college advancement and university foundation relations.

Not only will the partnership enhance student learning, it will promote faculty development as well, serving as a hub for testing new teaching methods. Additionally, with the EED’s focus on engineering education research, Ohio State is uniquely positioned to measure and report on outcomes for the network.

“We really want to find a way to connect all of the departments within the college and Engineering Education can be a place that does that—via our teaching, our research and the other outreach activities that we do,” said Cox. “We want to instill this mindset across the students’ entire experience to help them see the bigger picture and connect these professional skills, not just entrepreneurial-minded learning but communications, teamwork and leadership so that they know how it aligns with real world engineering practice.”

KEEN defines an entrepreneurial mindset as consisting of three core components: curiosity, connections and creating value.

“We look forward to infusing an entrepreneurial mindset into the thousands of young engineers whom we teach each year. The opportunity to build connections with, and learn from, the other KEEN partners will prepare our students to create value and change the world they are entering,” said College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams.