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The Kern Family Foundation Awards $2.25M Grant to Rose-Hulman for Entrepreneurially-Minded Learning

November 12, 2014

KEEN Grant Catapult

Program Support: Rose-Hulman’s successful Operation Catapult summer STEM education program is among several areas supported by this latest grant from The Kern Family Foundation. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, Wisconsin, has awarded Rose-Hulman a $2.25 million grant to encourage further development of entrepreneurially-minded learning (EML) programs through educational practice, faculty engagement, and student experiences from 2015 through 2018.

Rose-Hulman is a select member of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a national effort by The Kern Family Foundation to align U.S. private engineering colleges to produce graduates who possess enterprising attitudes, resolute integrity, and entrepreneurial mindsets—characterized by exercising curiosity, seeking connections, and creating value.

One of The Kern Family Foundation’s key goals, shared by Rose-Hulman, is to offer students a vision of the breadth of their possible futures and prepare them to identify unexpected opportunities to create value, whether technical, societal, or economic. The program emphasizes the development of a curiosity about our changing world, and connecting technical skills to societal needs and opportunities.

“Rose-Hulman and The Kern Family Foundation have established a base for a partnership that could transform undergraduate engineering education,” says Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell. “We share a common interest in instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students. This is an important step forward in creating the next generation of leaders in the American workforce.”

     The grant will support the following educational initiatives:

  • Engaging faculty in multi-disciplinary groups to create EML-infused courses in each academic discipline, including humanities.
  • Supporting the activities for a Professor of Practice and staff within the EML program.
  • Building vision for the KEEN/Rose-Hulman Case Study Initiative, started through a Kern Family Foundation grant in 2013. This will become a national resource for entrepreneurially-minded case studies.
  • Educating faculty about EML principles through a series of workshops, conferences, and renewal experiences.
  • Exposing rising high-school seniors to EML through Rose-Hulman’s successful Operation Catapult summer enrichment program in science and engineering.
  • Using Rose-Hulman’s Making Academic Change Happen Workshop to educate national engineering educators and leaders in the subtleties of leading change within an academic setting.
  • Expanding Rose-Hulman’s student Leadership Advancement Program.

     “The entrepreneurial mindset is a central attribute in the development of a Rose-Hulman graduate,” says Richard Stamper, PhD, dean of faculty. “The EML ecosystem is an area of focus at Rose-Hulman as we continue to improve the value proposition for our prospective and current students.”

Craig Downing, PhD, head of Rose-Hulman’s Department of Engineering Management, adds, “We know that Rose-Hulman will only be able to deliver on the institute’s mission, and prepare students for success, if we are able to anticipate and adjust to the rapid changes in the global economy and within engineering industries. With support from the Kern Family Foundation, through KEEN, we have begun developing the tools and resources required to create an EML ecosystem at Rose-Hulman.”