Baylor Among Recipients Of Kern Family Foundation Grant To Train Engineers in Entrepreneurship

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Jan. 4, 2012

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Baylor University, University of Dayton, University of Detroit Mercy, and Villanova University have received a $2.4 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop innovative ways to educate engineers capable of contributing to the entrepreneurial cultures of their companies.

"The goal of the collaborative effort is to form a Helping Hands Dense Network (HHDN) which will lead to a positive change of culture in the way engineers are educated by developing curricular strategies to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in all undergraduate engineering students," said Cynthia C. Fry, assistant dean of the School of Engineering & Computer Science.

"The Kern Family Foundation is eager to support this joint initiative of four prestigious universities that desire to work together to change engineering education for the benefit of their engineering students," said Timothy J. Kriewall, Ph.D., Kern Family Foundation Program Director for Engineering Entrepreneurship. "Their graduates will be effective team players who will be entrepreneurially minded - and who will be able to deploy technology to benefit people around the world."

The HHDN will focus on two initiatives. Baylor University and the University of Detroit Mercy will build programming on intrapreneurship, which will teach students how to apply the entrepreneurial spirit within existing companies. The University of Dayton and Villanova University will facilitate intercollegiate projects, which will allow students to share resources and experiences in new collaborative ways. Faculty from each school will offer input on both initiatives.

"The three-year project will leverage industry ties to help students develop a deeper understanding of intrapreneurship and build a curriculum to enrich student learning. It will provide the students with hard skills and learning opportunities to help them develop soft skills and professional attributes necessary for career success," said Greg Leman, Ph.D., clinical professor, director of University Entrepreneurial Initiatives and The Curtis Hankamer Chair of Entrepreneurship in the department of management and entrepreneurship.

The HHDN will create teaching tools that are self-contained and transferable to other schools, resulting in university cultures that value intrapreneurial engineering. The work will proceed along two tracks of intrapreneurial curriculum development and intercollegiate student projects.

Principal investigators on the grant are:

-- Baylor University: Cynthia C. Fry, assistant dean of the School of Engineering & Computer Science; William M. Jordan, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of mechanical engineering; and Greg Leman, Ph.D., clinical professor, director of University Entrepreneurial Initiatives and The Curtis Hankamer Chair of Entrepreneurship in the department of management and entrepreneurship

-- University of Dayton: Ken Bloemer, Ph.D., director of the University of Dayton Innovation Center

-- University of Detroit Mercy: Leo E. Hanifin, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering & Science; and Nassif Rayess, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering

-- Villanova University: Gary Gabriele, Ph.D., Drosdick Endowed Dean of Engineering; Pritpal Singh, Ph.D., professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering; and Edmond J. Dougherty, director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

About the School of Engineering and Computer Science

The Baylor University School of Engineering and Computer Science offers nationally recognized programs of study in engineering (with majors in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering) and computer science (B.S., B.A. and bioinformatics options). Its mission is to provide a superior education through instruction, scholarship and service that prepares graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian world view. The goals of the school are to graduate students with a broad-based technical education in engineering and in computer science, an education that fosters an appreciation for the role of the sciences and humanities in society and a commitment to Christian values; stimulate students to think clearly, be creative, and communicate effectively; promote professional ethics and a sense of civic responsibility, empowering graduates to be leaders in their churches, their communities, and society as a whole; and to foster and maintain programs of professional activity on the part of the faculty that contribute to the disciplines and build strong alliances with industry, the corporate community, and government.

About Hankamer School of Business

Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit and follow on Twitter at

About the Kern Family Foundation

In keeping with the vision of its founders Drs. Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, the Kern Family Foundation, based in Waukesha, Wis., seeks to enrich the lives of others by promoting strong pastoral leadership, educational excellence, and high-quality, innovative engineering talent. In practice, the Foundation intentionally focuses on systemic change, rather than charities. It seeks to target funding toward broad-impact, long-term programs. The Foundation's programs include a partnership with Project Lead the Way (a pre-engineering program for middle and high school students) as part of the K-12 STEM Program, the Pastoral Ministry Program, the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), the Education Reform Program, and the American History, Economics, and Religion Program.

Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964

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