U.S. curriculum and pedagogy suffers from an ever increasing trend of compartmentalization of disciplines, resulting in deep silos of academic knowledge that promote little, if any cross disciplinary activity. Compounded with faculty promotion and tenure dependent on individual research in these silos, students are left with few experiences that relate to the complex and highly discipline-interdependent world in which we live. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), which serves a diverse and multicultural community at both the undergraduate and graduate level, is attempting to correct this deficiency by transforming inter-collegiate pedagogy in entrepreneurship.
The university recognizes that students require deep working knowledge of their fundamental disciplines, be they in engineering, science, business, or arts and humanities. However, graduating students that are prepared to make an impact on their local, national and international community necessitate that they see the application of these fundamentals across disciplinary boundaries to understand the broader scope their decisions and actions will have on society. UTSA firmly believes that entrepreneurship is a key contextual ingredient for educating students that have this multidisciplinary and social perspective.
As CITE develops a focus on entrepreneurship at UTSA, the Colleges of Business and Engineering are working together to scientifically study the changing pedagogical and curricular landscape. Currently experiments are being conducted that link the undergraduate senior design courses in the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Departments with the Small Business and Entrepreneurship practicum course in the College of Business.
These linkages are bringing a business focus to the engineering product design process, while providing new and novel tangible technologies in which business students can build their business plans. The study of these experiments will be used to further refine the approach to entrepreneurial education at UTSA, and provide new knowledge to the study of technology entrepreneurs in general. Other areas of research include entrepreneurial personality traits, entrepreneurial intent, business incubation, technology transfer and policies for accelerating technology commercialization.