The Ohio State University

Disciplina in civitatem: “Education for Citizenship”.

The Ohio State University (OSU) is a comprehensive state land-grant university comprised of 15 colleges. Overall, OSU enrolls approximately 45,730 undergraduate and 11,090 graduate students on its Columbus, Ohio campus. An additional 5,350 undergraduates are enrolled across five regional campuses. Approximately 77 percent of OSU students are in-state students. The university granted 12,806 undergraduate degrees and certificates and 3,877 graduate degrees in 2022-23.

The College of Engineering offers 15 undergraduate engineering programs. The college includes the Center for Aviation Studies and the School of Architecture that offer non-engineering degrees. The college also includes the Engineering Education Department that houses the First Year Engineering, Engineering Technical Communications, and Multidisciplinary Engineering Capstone Design. The college also offers a program in engineering technology at the regional campuses.

The college enrolls approximately 8,570 undergraduate and 1,910 graduate students in engineering programs. The college has 332 tenure-track faculty members, 64 clinical-track faculty, 28 research-track faculty, 109 associated faculty, and 91 postdoctoral scholars. Students enrolled in engineering programs in the College of Engineering earned 1,881 undergraduate and 695 graduate degrees over the 2022 summer to 2023 spring year.

The college offers programs that support and supplement students’ experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. These experiences include:

  • A required First Year Engineering Program, which includes hands-on labs and engineering design experiences.

  • An Engineering Technical Communications team that provide students opportunities to develop effective communication skills through general education courses and facilitates technical communication.

  • A Multidisciplinary Engineering Capstone experience that includes not only students from various engineering programs but also from programs outside of engineering, such as business, industrial design, and various areas in the humanities and social sciences.

  • Over 100 student organizations, supported by faculty or staff advisors, that involve students in competitive, professional, and social opportunities that embody design, research, and other experiential opportunities.

Why We're In KEEN
Having implemented central elements of entrepreneurial mindset (EM) into the bookends of our curriculum, the college is in a position to infuse EM as a core element of the ethos – for EM to be something for which our institution is known.

In our strategic plan developed in 2021, the College of Engineering (COE) identified two foundations that provide our mission and direction and three pillars that espouse our ambitions.

The foundations are to: 1) build and nurture a community and culture of humanity that reflects our university values, and to 2) cultivate and advance excellence in stewardship across human capital, finance, infrastructure, and technology.

The pillars are to: 1) deliver the highest quality, evidence-based education experiences in a diverse and inclusive community, accessible at all student levels, across all learning modalities, 2) establish and grow productive partnerships and connections with alumni and external organizations for faculty, staff, and students, and 3) shape our research activities to optimize collaborative discovery, especially at the edges and intersections of disciplines.

Throughout the next five years, Ohio State will embark on a values-driven exercise to more explicitly tie engineering education to impacts on society and value creation for improving human welfare.

Our desire is to improve our students’ attainment of ABET outcomes #2 and #4 as follows:

  • Outcome #2 describes “an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.”

  • Outcome #4 describes “an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts."

We hypothesize that our engineering programs have given students the false perception that engineering is strictly objective and fact-based, and that solutions are accepted for their technical correctness rather than their value to society. While design courses have been breaking down this myth for a long time, design is a small portion of the entire program (sometimes as small as a single course) and often happens at the end of a student’s career in the program. Earlier intervention will yield stronger attainment of these outcomes.

Our effort will take on many forms and require a college-wide focus on demonstrating the human value of engineering and articulating the connections of engineering science to societal impact for our students. Implementing EM more frequently into the core required courses in the middle of the curriculum aligns well with this effort and we believe it can be an easily identifiable and quantifiable approach to monitoring and assessing the changes we seek.

We aim to demonstrate how students recognize, reflect on, and articulate EML in their problem-solving approaches by explicitly infusing our experiential learning activities in OHI/O (MakeOHI/O and HackOHI/O) with EM strategies and rubrics, and assessing how students view EM in a problem-solving context reminiscent of engineering practice.

To better understand these experiential learning assessment results, a small control experiment will be carried out to bring the OHI/O student-driven concepts into a few capstone courses to test how students may respond differently in a classroom vs co-curricular setting.

As we continue to progress in this work, we will be inviting other KEEN partner schools to observe and learn from our efforts.

Current Work
The current work in entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) at The Ohio State University falls into three primary areas:

  1. Research and Assessment. We are generating and validating assessment instruments to answer the guiding research question: “How do largely adopted EM instructional practices impact student growth related to the 3C’s, and which of these practices can we establish as a set of High Impact EM Practices?”

  2. Professional Development. We facilitate culture change, sustainability, and adoption of EML through our tiered levels of professional learning communities. These levels move participants from awareness to implementation to experienced to trainer.

  3. We are radically redesigning our experiential learning program pedagogy to be completely infused with EML and to provide an experience that drives reflection and internalization of EM. This change impacts everything from the prompt through judging/assessment. This transformation not only allows us to see EML in action, but also provides a critical link between the formal and informal learning environments.

Previous Work

KEEN and the EM framework create a common language for high-impact educational practices across engineering disciplines so the mindset becomes  a vehicle for graduates to immediately contribute to cross-functional teams in the workplace.
--David Tomasko, Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Student Services
Rachel Kajfez 3 others  
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In this lab students modify battery operated toys for children with disabilities who use accessibility switches.

Mandana Ashouri
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Integrated learning: Develop business hypotheses. Engineering students learn hypothesis formulation based on answering the questions who, why, and how.