As one of the twenty colleges and universities comprising the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) Santa Clara University shared the honor of being awarded a Gold Edison Award in the category of Collaborative Networks and Support on Thursday, April 26. The award was announced recently during the Edison Awards 25th anniversary celebration in New York City. Christopher Kitts, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of Santa Clara University’s Robotics Systems Laboratory was among those representing the KEEN network of colleges. Kitts was recently named the KEEN 2011 Outstanding Faculty Member and Network Contributor.
The participating academic institutions in the KEEN network were recognized for their collaborative work in creating the 21st-century engineer by instilling the entrepreneurial mindset in all of the nearly 19,000 students collectively represented. In addition to the rigorous technical fundamentals offered as part of their normal courses, KEEN institutions also offer experiential opportunities aimed at instilling in the students a set of professional skills necessary for their future work. Those skills include:
- Effectively collaborate in a team setting,
- Apply critical & creative thinking to ambiguous problems,
- Construct & effectively communicate a customer-appropriate value proposition,
- Persist through and learn from failure,
- Effectively manage projects through appropriate commercialization or final delivery process,
- Demonstrate voluntary social responsibility,
- Relate personal liberties and free enterprise to entrepreneurship.
KEEN is comprised of twenty undergraduate engineering schools including Baylor University, Boston University, Bucknell University, Gonzaga University, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University, Mercer University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Ohio Northern University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Union College, University of Dayton, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Evansville, University of New Haven, Villanova University, Western New England University, Widener University and Worcester Polytechnic University.
The above-mentioned schools are supported, in part, by the Kern Family Foundation in order to create this new program of study. The Kern Family Foundation’s mission includes the objectives of enriching lives by promoting educational excellence as well as high quality, innovative engineering talent.
The founders, Drs. Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, have a strong commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which opens many doors for students to become productive citizens in a technology-driven world. They believe that a solid background in math and problem-solving concepts, coupled with an understanding of responsible innovation, are the keys to meeting the challenges that America will face in a rapidly changing global economy.