10 Tips for KEEN Schools

Engineering Unleashed almost daily offers new content filled with quality classroom materials, new concepts, case studies and exercises. You need to ensure your team stays at the top of their game.
- Ken Bloemer, University of Dayton

10 tips for KEEN schools

10 Tips for KEEN Schools

contributed by Ken Bloemer, University of Dayton. This article originally appeared in KEEN Annual Report, 2019-2020. Reprinted with permission.

Over the past decade, the University of Dayton’s Dr. Ken Bloemer has seen KEEN grow from a handful of partner schools to more than 50. Additional schools are integrating entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) into engineering programs on their own at an accelerating rate. 

Whether you're new to KEEN or EML or a veteran school, use these tips to quickly involve faculty and staff who can integrate ideas from the KEEN framework into the campus culture.

10 Tips:

  1. Be dedicated.
  2. Shout it in the hallways.
  3. Discover and contribute best practices through Engineering Unleashed.
  4. Be ready with the answers.
  5. Train the trainers.
  6. Onboard the newbies.
  7. Motivate regularly.
  8. Create advocates throughout.
  9. Sharpen the saw.
  10. Fan the flames.


1. Be Dedicated

Every day there is a head-spinning amount of activity at KEEN partner schools, on the Engineering Unleashed website and across your own campus. 

To make the most of KEEN from day one in the Network, it is most effective to assign a dedicated KEEN Coordinator to organize and execute activities and lead your KEEN leadership team.

Shout it in the hallways

2. Shout it in the hallways. 

To gain the most from your KEEN partnership, members of your campus community need to learn of the many opportunities available to them. You need to “market” KEEN to administration, faculty, students, alumni, industry and your local community. 

You will find that the benefits of Network partnership multiply the more your community knows about KEEN.

Engineering Unleashed cards

3. Discover and contribute to best practices.

Engineering Unleashed is a treasure trove of EML tools and information. Your faculty and staff impacting engineering students should formally join the community by signing up online, and immediately explore its many instantly useful resources. This community will give you access to the best and brightest engineering educators in the country.

To add to the sum of knowledge, and truly become part of the community, your faculty should upload their own best practices and tools using Engineering Unleashed’s clever and convenient “cards.”


4. Be ready with the answers.

As your school’s KEEN involvement grows among your faculty and staff, you will get lots of requests for material and more than a few questions. Your KEEN Coordinator can respond to most requests, but use your ingenuity and agency to meet your campus needs. 

As an example, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has gone a step further and established an EML Hotline, a first-stop, one-stop point of contact to efficiently support the university community.

Train the trainers

5. Train the trainers.

Over the course of an academic year, a single faculty member can influence hundreds of students. The more faculty who integrate EML into courses, the more students can be impacted over the years. To this end, the University of Dayton created its KEEN Fellows program. 

Starting with a full-day EML workshop, annual cohorts of faculty participate in the year-long program. These faculty attend monthly EML deep dive sessions and during the summer develop EML modules for specific courses to be implemented in the fall. At the end of the semester, the modules and faculty experiences are shared internally via inexpensive “lunch and learn” sessions and externally via cards on Engineering Unleashed.


6. Onboard the newbies.

To perpetuate EML as part of the standard, required educational fabric of your school, new faculty and staff need to be introduced to EML from the start. 

Villanova University, for example, offers a weeklong summer EML Deep Dive Workshop. New faculty are required to attend the workshop as part of the standard faculty on-boarding experience.


7. Create advocates throughout.

Think strategically about the influencers who impact the majority of your faculty and students, and make sure they are well-versed in EML. For example, the University of New Haven designated an influential faculty member in each engineering discipline as an “EML Champion.” The Champions present KEEN-related materials and events at departmental meetings. The Champions also look for opportunities to infuse department courses with EML, providing ideas, training and assistance to faculty as needed. 

To additionally impact students, consider staff who organize first-year engineering student orientation or student events/competitions. Perhaps engineering students are in particular science or math sections with instructors who can integrate EML. These advocates can help shape culture across your campus.


8. Sharpen the saw.

Even as EML programs on your campus mature and succeed, don’t rest on your laurels. KEEN continues to grow. Engineering Unleashed almost daily offers new content filled with quality classroom materials, new concepts, case studies and exercises. You need to ensure your team stays at the top of their game. 

For example, University of Wisconsin-Platteville provides weekly seminars in their "Teaching with Impact" series.

Fan the flame

9. Fan the flame.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine 41% of Gen Z’ers plan to become entrepreneurs and 45% say they will invent something world-changing. Indeed, there’s a plethora of survey data about Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit. 

This is inspiring news for the EML movement. Let’s meet students where they are and nurture their budding entrepreneurial mindsets with exciting, relevant course content and experiences.


10. Motivate regularly.

If you’ve ever talked with anyone heading home from a KEEN conference or workshop, you’ve seen how excited they are; full of ideas and enthusiasm. They can’t wait to get back to campus to try out new concepts and materials. But motivation needs to be kept high throughout the year. Pop-up competitions, book discussion groups, brainstorming sessions, and guest speakers are all easy ways to keep your EML community buzzing throughout the year. 

For example, Saint Louis University has, for years, held fun, easy to set up, inexpensive weekly Innovation Challenges for faculty and students.

Associated Content

Students Who Understand EM are More Likely to Become EMEs

A deep understanding of the KEEN Framework will help students practice and actualize their entrepreneurial mindset. Get inspired by the University of Dayton's EM student awareness campaign!
Faculty Engagement

EMphasizing Faculty Engagement

The Colorado School of Mines, George Fox University, The Ohio State University, and University of Dayton share approaches for engaging faculty in entrepreneurially minded learning communities.

Meet the Author

Ken Bloemer

Ken Bloemer, University of Dayton

Dr. Ken Bloemer is currently Director of the Visioneering Center at the University of Dayton’s School of Engineering. He teaches courses on innovation and design, and is also a frequent guest lecturer on and off campus. He has conducted innovation workshops for researchers and inventors at over 100 universities, federal labs, the US Patent and Trademark Office and inventor organizations in the US, Canada & Scotland. Ken has a broad diversity of experience in Fortune 100 (Johnson & Johnson), business development and process improvement consulting (Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Sciences, TechSolve), academia (University of Dayton, University of Cincinnati), federal government (US Air Force civilian) and his true passion, the front end of innovation (Eureka! Ranch International and founder and managing partner of Bloemer, Meiser and Westerkamp, LLC).

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