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Embedding enterprise in science and engineering departments

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ This paper aims to focus on the attempts to implement the challenges of teaching enterprise to science and engineering students by the embedding approach chosen by the White Rose Centre for Enterprise (WRCE), one of the centres formed under the Science Engineering Challenge in the UK. Design/methodology/approach ‐ WRCE's objective was to have departmental science and engineering staff teach enterprise modules as part of their overall departmental teaching and to have such modules integrated into the course provision. The WRCE approach emphasized the value of giving students some real life or simulated "real" experience and of developing a strand or track of enterprise through the years of the course. Findings ‐ The general propositions of WRCE are reviewed in the light of the outcomes in a number of departments, but most specifically within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield, which would claim to be one of the most successful departmental interventions of WRCE. Whilst good examples of embedded modules exist, the successful results in Mechanical Engineering appear to depend on the appointment of non-traditional staff, the integration of enterprise in a track broader than enterprise and leadership of that track that has the confidence and resource to deliver its agenda in part using external rather than internal teaching. Originality/value ‐ The embedding of enterprise learning into an engineering curriculum and a mechanical engineering degree program in particular, is discussed from the perspective of the programme leadership, the sponsoring body and the implementing instructor.

Keywords: Business enterprise; Higher education; Learning; Sciences; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400910810909063

Publication date: September 30, 2008

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