Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Educational Innovation: Faculty Awarded National Prize

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has awarded its 2014 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education to Professors John Collier ’72 Th’77, Robert Graves, Joseph Helble, and Charles Hutchinson ’68A for integrating entrepreneurship into all levels of Thayer’s curriculum to prepare students for technology leadership. The prize will be conferred at a May 2, 2014 ceremony in Hanover.

Dean Joseph Helble and Professors John Collier, Charles Hutchinson, Robert Graves
WINNING TEAM: Left to right, Dean Joseph Helble, Professors John Collier, Charles Hutchinson, and Robert Graves established elements of Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program. Photograph by National Academy of Engineering.

The prize recognizes the professors for their contributions to a long-standing Thayer educational paradigm now formally called Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP).

Collier, the Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation, transformed ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering into a hands-on engineering experience that requires student teams to develop a project idea, brainstorm a technology or product solution, research the market, build and test a prototype, develop a business plan, and present their idea to a review board of potential funders. Collier also mentors Bachelor of Engineering students taking the capstone ENGS 89/90: Engineering Design Methodology sequence, in which students undertake real-life projects for industry sponsors.

Hutchinson, Dean Emeritus and the John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies, Emeritus, launched Thayer’s Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) program in 1989. Combining engineering with business management and entrepreneurship courses taught by faculty from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the M.E.M. program prepares students to advance rapidly in industry management and to create startups.

Assuming leadership of the M.E.M. program in 2003, Graves, the John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies, enhanced the curriculum, created a technology assessment course, and expanded leadership training and experiential learning opportunities. He established the Corporate Collaboration Council of industry leaders who offer advice on industry trends, mentor students, and provide them with internships. He also initiated the M.E.M. Programs Consortium, a group of professional graduate engineering management programs that shares best practices and promotes the M.E.M. degree.

Helble, Dean of Thayer School, launched Dartmouth’s Ph.D. Innovation Program in 2008 as the nation’s first doctoral-level program in engineering innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation Program students complete traditional Ph.D. requirements and receive entrepreneurial and leadership training through special coursework and experiential learning opportunities, including interning in a startup or pursuing their own venture. In their final three years, Innovation students receive independent funding to support development of their own innovations. During the program’s first five years, two participants launched successful companies—Ashifi Gogo Th’10 founded the product authentication company Sproxil, and Dax Kepshire Th’06 ’09 cofounded the utility-scale energy storage company SustainX.

The Bernard M. Gordon Prize
Courtesy of National Academy of Engineering.

The Gordon Prize comes with $500,000, half of which is granted to the recipients and half to the institution “to support the continued development, refinement, and dissemination of the recognized innovation.” Thayer’s plans for using the prize funding include developing a summer workshop to teach college administrators, faculty members, and advanced Ph.D. students how to educate students in entrepreneurial thinking and leadership through project-based experiential study.

“It is a privilege to receive this award on behalf of the faculty of the Thayer School of Engineering,” says Helble. “Dartmouth has a long history of educational leadership, and to be recognized nationally for our innovations in engineering education is truly an honor for our school.”

“The National Academy’s prize validates Thayer School’s efforts to wholeheartedly encourage students in the entrepreneurship that underlies successful engineering in America,” says Elsa Garmire, a National Academy of Engineering member and the Sydney E. Junkins 1887 Professor at Thayer who nominated her colleagues for the Gordon Prize. “I hope that engineering programs across the country will be inspired to replicate our approach to engineering entrepreneurship.”

The NAE is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation.

Categories: The Great Hall, Educational Innovation

Tags: award, curriculum, entrepreneurship, faculty, innovation, innovation program, leadership, M.E.M.

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