Conference Dates

January 12-16, 2003


In 1992, the College of Engineering at Rowan University was created as the direct result of a $100 million gift from entrepreneur Henry M. Rowan. Mr. Rowan’s requirements were that the gift be used to create a high-quality, public undergraduate engineering institution and to impact the economic development of southern New Jersey, a region which has historically lagged behind northern New Jersey. Having started with a clean curriculum slate during a period of national change in engineering curricula in response to ABET 2000, we had the opportunity to infuse an entrepreneurial culture into our engineering program from its inception. Specifically, we have developed the following policies/programs: • Created an 8-semester Engineering Clinic course sequence in which hands-on design projects are completed every semester. • Developed a “job-fair” model for student clinic project staffing in which students get “hired” into their Engineering Clinic projects by marketing themselves and their capabilities to faculty, • Created an Undergraduate Venture Capital Fund where students can obtain funding up to $2500 per semester to develop their own original inventions, • Created the Competitive Assessment Laboratory for competitive benchmarking of consumer products. • Developed a micro-business model in which some Engineering Clinic project teams provide engineering services (design, fabrication, modeling, etc.) to other projects, • Hired (College of Business) an endowed chair in entrepreneurial studies, • Created the Technological Entrepreneurship Concentration, which is a certificate program that will be populated jointly by Engineering and Business students, • Obtained state funding to build the South Jersey Technology Park and Technology Business Incubator adjacent to the Rowan campus. This paper will describe the impact of each of these initiatives toward creating an entrepreneurial culture in our undergraduate students. It should be noted that many of these initiatives do not require a new program or major curriculum reform. Rather, our results suggest that it is possible to start with some small initiatives and build upon each initiative as the momentum for entrepreneurship develops.