Researcher Sarah Zappe has been working at the intersection of educational psychology and engineering education at Pennsylvania State University for almost two decades. From her perspective, the field of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) education has grown and evolved significantly, but she wonders: where do we go from here? “When I began assessing the university’s entrepreneurship minor almost 20 years ago, the research was focused on developing programs and identifying their objectives,” she said. “Now it’s time to assess the impact of these programs. It’s also time to identify who is—and isn’t—participating and why.”
According to Zappe, there’s an opportunity for educational and social science researchers to join forces with STEM faculty to create research agendas that not only inform program development, but enhance the field of I&E education as a whole. “Programs aren’t always structured in an evidence-based manner,” she said. “As a social scientist, I know much of the underlying research and the literature, and faculty know what big questions to ask. Together, we can generate and evaluate ideas for potential research questions that are built from practice and teaching to help move the field forward.”
Mission 2025: Supporting Your Vision for I&E Education
Zappe isn’t the only one pondering the future of I&E education. That’s why we’ve created a special session at our annual OPEN conference called Mission 2025 that will allow participants to discuss: what are the topics and challenges in I&E education that should be addressed between now and 2025?
“Over the years, VentureWell has awarded over $11 million to 450 faculty at more than 230 different institutions,” said Victoria Matthew, VentureWell senior program officer and Mission 2025 facilitator. “During that time, I&E ecosystems have flourished and advanced. Lean LaunchPad, competitions, entrepreneurship centers, and makerspaces are now standard on most campuses. We’ve come a long way, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We want to work together to thoughtfully map out and support what’s next.”
For instance, researching the impact of makerspaces is high on Zappe’s priority list. “In the last few years, more and more universities are building makerspaces on campus,” she said. “However, there isn’t a lot of research on them, and there are so many ways to explore the impact of makerspaces. Research findings will not only help improve these initiatives, it can allow faculty to illustrate the value of these spaces to stakeholders, which could lead to more resources that further improve these programs.”
Join the Mission 2025 Conversation
We are kicking off the Mission 2025 session now, before OPEN, by asking people in our community to submit one-minute video pitches for topics and challenges they would like to discuss. OPEN attendees will vote on pitches during the Mission 2025 interactive session. “VentureWell leadership will be on hand to hear your ideas to determine how to integrate them into our plans,” said Matthew. “Don’t hold back. No idea is too wild! We aim to announce next steps this Spring.”
Visit our Mission 2025 page for more details about the session and video submission guidelines.
Watch the Mission 2025 Video Pitches
Several faculty in our community have put a stake in the ground for how they would like to see I&E education transformed by 2025. Watch their Mission 2025 video pitches below.
Tom Byers, Stanford University
Incorporating Ethics Into Entrepreneurship Education
Byers sees a need to integrate ethics and values into entrepreneurship education so that early-stage startups can avoid the pitfalls and scandals of companies like Theranos, Uber, and Facebook. Byers will also lead a panel session around this topic at OPEN entitled Principled Entrepreneurship Action and Knowledge (PEAK): Incorporating Ethics Into Entrepreneurship Education.
Sarah Zappe, Pennsylvania State University
Collaboration of Entrepreneurship Education Researchers & Practitioners
Sarah highlights the need for increased collaboration between researchers and practitioners in I&E education. She will lead an interactive OPEN session on this topic entitled Courageous and Contagious: Using the Creative Process to Bridge Research and Practice.
Joe Tranquillo, Bucknell University
Entrepreneurship for Introverts
Joe would like to explore how the I&E community can best support introverted entrepreneurs, whose voices can be drowned out by their extroverted colleagues. He will be part of an OPEN panel discussion entitled The Essentials of I&E Education.
Robbie Nock, Art Center College of Design
Robbie Nock from the ArtCenter College of Design discusses the need to move beyond hackathons and pitch competitions and discover new ways of forming and nourishing successful cross-disciplinary collaborations. He will lead an OPEN session entitled, The Advantages of Horizontal Resources and Hybrid Positions for Building and Scaling I&E on Campus.