The first cohort in a new innovation, leadership, and engineering entrepreneurship B. S. degree program

Brooke S. Newell, Lav R. Varshney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently launched a new B. S. dual degree in Innovation, Leadership, and Engineering Entrepreneurship (ILEE), a second bachelor's degree option for those completing their degree in a traditional engineering discipline. This is unlike many universities where similar degree programs are situated in colleges of business rather than engineering. The first cohort of sixteen students has joined the program in January 2017. In this paper we first report on the stated goals of the new degree, which is meant to combine the technical expertise in the traditional engineering science-focused disciplines with a deeper set of skills in problem-finding, creativity, innovation, leadership, and externalization. The idea is to ensure training in the dual physical and human dimensions and triple aspects of science, design, and leadership that are present in engineering practice. Next we report on the curriculum design as well as the experiential learning pedagogy that is present in most of the courses therein. Core courses include "Design Thinking/Need-Finding", "Creativity, Innovation, Vision", "Emotional Intelligence", "Innovation and Engineering Design", and "Technology Entrepreneurship". Further, we provide a characterization of the students in the first cohort of undergraduate students to be accepted into the degree program. Drawing on their application materials, we perform text analytics using techniques such as topic modeling under Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and geometric embedding using the word2vec family of methods, to understand the key motivations for students to pursue this degree. Finally we use these text analytics techniques to make a formal assessment of alignment between the stated goals of the degree program and the key motivations of the students. One particular question is to understand the students' relative level of interest in the three legs of the degree, namely innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship, so as to predict how level of engagement may vary across courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFIE 2017 - Frontiers in Education, Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509059195
StatePublished - Dec 12 2017
Event47th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2017 - Indianapolis, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2017Oct 21 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other47th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Engineering entrepreneurship education
  • Innovation education
  • Leadership education
  • Text analytics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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