Widener University has been accepted to the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN). It is a collaboration of 21 select, private universities from across the United States crafted to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering and technology students.
The KEEN mission, similar to the School of Engineering at Widener, is to graduate engineers who will contribute to business success. The focus is also to 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.
“We hope to provide faculty with the tools they need to integrate entrepreneurial-minded engineering into courses, while enhancing engineering students’ business skills,” said associate professor and chair of civil engineering and principle investigator for the grant, Dr. Vicki Brown. “We are trying to influence a culture change in education.”
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.
Other Institutions in the KEEN network include Baylor University, Boston University, Bucknell University, Gonzaga University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University, Mercer University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Ohio Northern University, St. Louis University, Santa Clara University, Union College, University of Dayton, University of Detroit-Mercy, University of Evansville, University of New Haven, Villanova University, Western New England University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
“I think the partnership between Widener and KEEN was inevitable because they both have the same mission and are striving to provide students with the best opportunities” said Widener University sophomore Sharee Harrington. “Engineering and technology are two fields that I believe will continue to thrive in the future. There also fields that more people are going into, especially at Widener.
“The partnership will not only enhance the education at my school, but it will also help prepare us for our future,” she added. “Widener has always done things to make sure we all get the best education and I’m looking forward to the other great things the school will do in the future.”