Rose-Hulman's KEEN Program Nominated for Entrepreneurship Award

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KEEN logo

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's efforts to teach tomorrow's world-changing entrepreneurs is getting international attention this week in New York City.

The institute's participation in the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) program has joined such international heavyweights as Adobe, MasterCard, The New York Times, Barclays, and John Hancock in being nominated for this year's Corporate Entrepreneur Award.

The award process recognizes programs or new ways of working that have transformed an organization's approach to innovation.

Rose-Hulman was nominated for the award because "we're taking a comprehensive approach by empowering faculty, staff, and students," through the KEEN program, says Grant Hoffman, Rose-Hulman's professor of practice-entrepreneurship. Rose-Hulman also encourages its faculty to introduce their own ideas into the KEEN framework, such as awarding students credentials for demonstrating the entrepreneurial mindset outside of the classroom in competitions, service, and other extra- and co-curricular activities. Rose-Hulman is also home to a new case study program bringing creative, entrepreneurial engineering materials to the classroom. Both programs have the ability and mission to impact undergraduate engineering education on a nationwide scale.

"The fact that we're being recognized on this national stage is tremendously important for the future of the institution," says Hoffman, who will attend the award presentation, hosted by Market Gravity. "This validates that what we're doing is of interest to the industries that hire 95 percent of our graduates."

The KEEN program seeks to instill an entrepreneurial mindset into today's engineering students. Funded by the Kern Family Foundation, the program's goal is to help selected private U.S. colleges produce graduates with the ability to exercise curiosity about their world, define problems, opportunities, and solutions in terms of value creation.

Rose-Hulman's KEEN program is little more than a year old, but has already trained more than 60 faculty members in entrepreneurial-minded learning through day-long continuing education experiences and generated 22 courses designed to develop curiosity, seek connections with others, and create value.

Hoffman says the KEEN program fits within Rose-Hulman's strategic vision, which includes giving students a vision of the breadth of their possible futures while preparing them to achieve those futures. "Our whole goal is to give students what they need to grow and succeed in today's economy," he notes.