Monday May 19, 2014

Engineering Change

A national foundation's $1.2 million grant will spur the largest faculty and curriculum development program in the School of Engineering's history.

A national entrepreneurship network and foundation's grant of $1.2 million will initiate the largest faculty and curriculum development program in the history of the University of Dayton School of Engineering.

University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean Tony Saliba said the grant from the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), part of the Kern Family Foundation, has the opportunity to "revolutionize our curriculum."

"Because of the Kern family's generosity, we'll have the resources for faculty development and to teach the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and offer a world-class curriculum to our students," Saliba said. "It's important we produce engineers who embrace entrepreneurial thinking and interact effectively with business professionals in order to develop innovations that can succeed in the marketplace. It's important we produce job creators, not just job seekers."

With the grant, 50 faculty will participate in workshops to learn more about activity-based, project-based and entrepreneurially minded learning to enhance their courses. For students, the KEEN grant will engage them in activities that teach them how to use various sources to create entrepreneurial opportunities.

"The University of Dayton is transforming its approach to engineering education based on entrepreneurially minded learning," said Karen Wilken, program director for KEEN. "Instead of resting on their laurels with record enrollments, University and department leaders are pursuing an educational strategy that will prepare students to contribute to our national economic prosperity and to find individual fulfillment through a lifetime of meaningful work in a global marketplace."

This is the second major grant from the network to the School of Engineering. In 2012, the University was part of a three-year, $2.4 million award with Baylor University, University of Detroit Mercy and Villanova University to develop ways to educate engineers to contribute to the entrepreneurial cultures of their companies.

KEEN has long considered the University of Dayton and its Innovation Center "best in class" in graduating engineers equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset who will transform the U.S. workforce. The network presented the School of Engineering and its Innovation Center the 2013 KEEN Best in Class Award at KEEN's winter conference in January.

Since 1996, student engineering and innovation teams have worked on nearly 1,000 industry challenges for more than 200 clients, meeting or exceeding client expectations more than 85 percent of the time.

In addition to the latest KEEN grant, the School of Engineering has plans for an innovation minor currently in the University's approval process.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or