IDEAS: An Interdisciplinary Design Course in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Service

Hoback, Alan S.

Proceedings of the Spring 2007 American Society of Engineering Education North Central Section Conference at West Virginia Institute of Technology (WVUTech), 2007/03


The ability to adapt, innovate and recognize opportunities are quintessential entrepreneurship traits. The abundance of these traits would not only improve the functioning of the workforce but would also help shield that workforce from adverse economic conditions. The Interdisciplinary Design, Entrepreneurship and Service (IDEAS) course is designed to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in the students at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM). Furthermore, by concentrating on service based projects, it aims to plant the seeds of social entrepreneurship in junior level students and open their minds to careers in community service and non-profit work. The IDEAS course is the result of a collaborative effort between the colleges of Architecture, Business Administration, Engineering & Science and Liberal Arts & Education. In its first pilot offering, one group of six students from engineering, architecture, business and liberal arts worked on a project sponsored by the WARM Training Center, a non- profit organization that promotes sustainable affordable communities. This highly interdisciplinary educational experience will be shared in this paper along with perspectives from the various faculty and students involved. The course structure, its outcomes and assessment thereof as well as future plans will be presented. The outcome of the project work, its potential impact, and ideas for future projects and directions will also be shared. Finally, the course's feasibility vis-à-vis the number of faculty involved and ideas for its future sustainability will be discussed.

Link to full paper


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