KEEN

The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)

KEEN focuses on one mission: To graduate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset (EM) so they can create personal, economic, and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work. 

KEEN is a partnership of more than 45 colleges and universities across the United States. The schools in the Network are driving change within engineering education—each committing to reach all of their undergraduate engineering students with entrepreneurial mindset. KEEN specifically impacts and influences the broader engineering ecosystem and reflects the belief that networks scale impact. 

KEEN serves as a lab to test and showcase best practices in entrepreneurially minded learning. The Network seeks to represent the larger engineering education landscape, showing that EM benefits students regardless of institution type, size, or location. Through this collaborative network, institutions are able to work together to transform engineering education.

KEEN Leader Meeting 2019
KEEN Leader Meeting 2019
KEEN National Conference 2020 faculty

Faculty Perspective on KEEN

When Will Ebel, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Saint Louis University, first heard about the pedagogy used by undergraduate engineering programs in KEEN, he was skeptical. 

But when he adopted KEEN's EM concepts in the classroom, he found that students were actively engaged – and learned faster.

What does KEEN partnership mean?

We must provide students an engineering skillset while developing a mindset that seeks out new opportunities and wants to make a difference in the world. KEEN partnership gives us a powerful network of like-minded educators who value the combined power of skillset and mindset and want to develop both in students.
- Dr. Brett Gunnink, Dean of Engineering, Montana State University

KEEN is powering Engineering Unleashed

KEEN represents the institutional commitment that will continue to impact and grow the Engineering Unleashed community. This short video provides clarity on the KEEN origins of the community and its valuable contributions.

The community logo - Engineering Unleashed, powered by KEEN – reflects the impact of these institutions and recognizes that it is the hard work and dedication of a community of faculty and staff within these institutions who lead these efforts.

KEEN Partners agree to advance entrepreneurially minded learning – curiosity, connections, and creating value – for engineering undergraduate students.

Partners have:

  • Aligned leadership and systems focused on improving undergraduate teaching.
  • A cohort of faculty driving enhancements in both curriculum and activities to foster entrepreneurial mindset in students.
  • Opportune timing that makes a change initiative practical and compelling.
  • A collaborative spirit among faculty, willing to share material and resources with like-minded colleagues at other institutions.
  • Connections and relationships within the broader engineering education community which provide opportunities for showcasing this shared mission.
Lafayette Meta Mindset and students

Partner benefits:

Michigan Tech Chemical Engineering students
  • Coordinated opportunities to connect and collaborate with KEEN Partners on areas of mutual interest.
  • Faculty orientation and introductions to KEEN colleagues, working groups, and resources.
  • Faculty development opportunities to embed entrepreneurially minded learning in curriculum and student activities.
  • KEEN branding and co-branding per requirements outlined in the KEEN style guide.
  • Faculty, leadership, and student opportunities to shape KEEN and its influence in the broader engineering education community.
  • Sponsorship opportunities to attend KEEN events and topical and other grant opportunities for which the Kern Family Foundation may, in its sole discretion, give priority consideration to KEEN Partners. The number of opportunities is limited and will vary, and status as a KEEN Partner does not guarantee grant or sponsorship funding.

Partner expectations:

  • Strive to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in all undergraduate engineering students, leveraging the KEEN Framework in curricula and programs.
  • Develop faculty champions through training and recognition.
  • Use, improve, and share KEEN resources and events.
  • Participate in and contribute to regular KEEN working groups and virtual and in-person meetings.
  • Collaborate with KEEN Partners.
  • Promote and prioritize KEEN’s mission and activities on campus and across the broader engineering education community.
  • Demonstrate institutional leadership through systemic change and cultural practices, such as mission, policies, and hiring practices.
  • Regularly share progress regarding KEEN-related activities and impact.

Olin students

Teaching our next generation of engineers

Through the Network, institutions work together to improve educational experiences for students. Here, administration and faculty coordinate and innovate for the benefit of students. Through a shared language and framework, institutions and faculty implement entrepreneurially minded learning in a variety of contexts. This is how KEEN equips students to thrive in the changing world.

Technical skills continue to be critical. Engineers must be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to solve the grand challenges of today and tomorrow. While students are learning these skills, however, faculty can work to give them experiences that will expand their paradigm. Faculty can equip students to identify opportunities and understand the impact of solutions. 

In a dynamic and interconnected world, it is important for undergraduate engineering schools to teach technical skills while fostering curiosity, connections, and the creation of value. But it's not always obvious how to incorporate this mindset in classroom curricula and culture. 

That's where KEEN can help. KEEN promotes collaboration among institutions and individuals who share this compelling vision. The Network also provides numerous tools and resources to make adoption of these ideas easy and impactful. 


Baylor University students

Connect with KEEN today

KEEN National Conference 2020 faculty

The power of the network is realized by the great work of the faculty and administration that are a part of it. 

Whether it be faculty collaborating within their institution or partnering across universities, there are many opportunities for faculty to share best practices, contribute to content development, and shape the network in pursuing our mission of developing the entrepreneurial mindset in students.

Being part of KEEN is about being engaged in a partnership with people who really care. They care for your institution, care about what you're doing; but most importantly, care about nurturing students who are well-educated and ready to tackle the kind of problems they face in the world.
- The Rev. Peter Donahue, President, Villanova University

KEEN Faculty Features: KEENzine

Our annual magazine, KEENzine, highlights the key tenets of entrepreneurially minded learning and features stories on faculty and student application in the classroom and the workplace.
KEENzine Campbell Soup

Engineering With a Can-Do Attitude

Villanova University partnered with Campbell Soup Company to create a new type of internship.

An innovative company needs engineers with more than deep and broad skillsets.
KEENzine Springboard

A Springboard for Student Success

"I really owe a lot to the KEEN program at Saint Louis University."

An entrepreneurial mindset allowed Rebecca Metrovich ('14) to be comfortable choosing an unexpected path.
KEENzine Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is fun!

How can a notoriously difficult course be modified to improve student learning?

Jennifer O'Neil at Rochester Institute of Technology found the answer when she transformed her course with entrepreneurial mindset.

Resources