Pathways Partners: Entrepreneurial Change across Campus

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The Pathways to Innovation program is focused on helping college and university engineering programs to integrate entrepreneurship into their programs and institutions. The program, part of the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), is designed to help institutions transform the way learning happens, giving students the technical skills, the tools, and the attitudes they need to turn ideas into practical solutions that solve real problems. A network-based approach to collaboration promotes the sharing of ideas, tools and best practices among academic institutions, while at the same time serving as a catalyst for change. This paper examines the approach four Pathways partner institutions took in implementing change in their programs on campus. The diversity of the innovation and entrepreneurship change efforts implemented and the interdisciplinary nature of each of these efforts highlights the need for the sharing of best practices in implementation and in overcoming university obstacles. The four partners, California Polytechnic State University; University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, each describe initiatives they either are implementing or have implemented to expand entrepreneurship in their engineering programs. These initiatives—flexible interdisciplinary faculty hiring and engagement, development of student entrepreneurs, integrating cross-campus curricula, and the development of cross campus collaborations—while still in their infancy, serve as examples for other institutions and provide a basis for impact assessment in future years. This paper outlines tools used by Pathways university partners for communicating and collaborating and methods used to maintain cross-campus collaboration.