The George Fox University engineering program took a major step in its development after being accepted into the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a group of 30 institutions nationwide committed to collaboration and dedicated to teaching Entrepreneurial Minded Learning (EML).
George Fox is now eligible to apply for select grants reserved for KEEN member schools and engage in collaboration with other institutions on workshops, projects and best practices for infusing EML into its engineering curriculum.
George Fox is one of four KEEN member schools on the West Coast, joining Santa Clara, the University of Portland and Gonzaga. Ohio State University was accepted into the network this year.
Membership not only puts George Fox into what a press release from the university characterized as elite company, but represents the school's commitment to upholding KEEN's mission – to teach a technical skill set and an entrepreneurial mindset, fostering curiosity, enabling connections and creating value, the release said.
"Traditionally, engineering programs have failed to adequately stress the importance of talking with customers and collecting feedback regarding designs," Dean of Engineering Bob Harder said. "We want our students to be curious, to think entrepreneurially. It's a mindset that is willing to embrace risk and vulnerability, and seriously considers what kinds of value a given project has – not just economic, but also social and environmental."
Harder and George Fox also recently learned it will receive a $150,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation for "Empowering Students to Solve Humanitarian Problems Using Molded Interconnect Devices." The grant will allow George Fox to purchase several multi-head 3D printers capable of printing electrically-conductive pathways into mechanical prototypes.
"Increasing our capability in additive manufacturing will foster student expertise in electromechanical systems, affording them the opportunity to create state-of-the-art devices that address humanitarian needs using versatile, high-strength materials with embedded circuits," Harder said.
In addition, Harder and electrical engineering professor Gary Spivey recently received a $20,000 grant from InventOR ("Invent Oregon"), an initiative committed to educating engineers in the creation of products that can be marketed and pitched to investors – particularly technologies that address humanitarian needs and assist underserved populations.
The money is being used to help equip the school's Engineering Innovation Center with training materials and to prepare what the schools calls "servant engineering students" to showcase their product design work at an Oct. 11 competition with five other engineering schools at OMSI.