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Widener University Joins Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network

Widener University has been accepted to the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), a collaboration of 21 select, private universities around the United States that strive to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering and technology students. The KEEN mission, like the School of Engineering at Widener, is to graduate engineers who will contribute to business success; and in doing so, create jobs that lead to a higher standard of living for the American workforce. Widener’s participation in KEEN is a collaborative effort of the Schools of Engineering and Business Administration.

The network was created in 2005 by the Kern Family Foundation, which provides funding for KEEN member schools to develop educational initiatives to instill an action-oriented entrepreneurial mindset in engineering graduates. A focus on entrepreneurial leadership as well as technical skills is increasingly important as the U.S. competes to maintain its economic position in a global marketplace based on innovation.

Widener University received a start-up grant of $75,000 over two years from KEEN, which will be used to focus on initiatives including updating current curriculum, hosting best practices workshops by KEEN for faculty, and starting a speaker series. The Schools of Engineering and Business Administration are also working to develop a minor, which will focus on entrepreneurship in high-growth technologies that would be suitable for students in either discipline.

“We hope to provide faculty with the tools they need to integrate entrepreneurial-minded engineering into courses, while enhancing engineering students’ business skills,” said Dr. Vicki Brown, associate professor and chair of civil engineering and principle investigator for the grant. “We are trying to influence a culture change in education.”

Institutions in the KEEN network include Baylor University (TX), Boston University (MA), Bucknell University (PA), Gonzaga University (WA), Illinois Institute of Technology (IL), Kettering University (MI), Lawrence Technological University (MI), Mercer University (GA), Milwaukee School of Engineering (WI), Ohio Northern University (OH), St. Louis University (MO), Santa Clara University (CA), Union College (NY), University of Dayton (OH), University of Detroit-Mercy (MI), University of Evansville (IN), University of New Haven (CT), Villanova University (PA), Western New England University (MA), Widener University (PA), and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA).

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,700 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.

KEEN is a network of engineering schools that are willing to change their engineering pedagogy in order to instill a more entrepreneurial mindset in their students. Graduates of KEEN schools will be prepared to identify new business opportunities in their engineering discipline that are based upon technology, especially new technology. Organizing a network of colleges such as KEEN creates synergy between member institutions that takes advantage of the network’s collective student body in a manner that transcends an individual university’s status. Visit the website, http://www.keennetwork.com.

 

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