Friday Features - Feb. 2, 2018

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Friday Features
February 2, 2018
Dr. Jessica Fick
Dr. Anne-Marie Lerner

Faculty explore engineering with entrepreneurial mindset at KEEN Conference

Dr. Jessica Fick and Dr. Anne-Marie Lerner, both associate professors of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, recently attended the 2018 KEEN National Conference in Dallas, Texas. KEEN is a nationwide network of engineering faculty working with undergraduate engineering programs, with a focus on an entrepreneurial mindset. Fick and Lerner were the first UW-Platteville faculty to attend the annual invitation-only conference.

According to its website, KEEN is a “national partnership of universities with the shared mission to graduate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work.”

Fick said that KEEN’s focus on student learning and innovation aligns well with UW-Platteville’s values. “We would love to do more project-based learning; that is one of our objectives of offering a hands-on education,” said Fick. “But, I think we struggle with how to implement it, and an advantage of the KEEN network is that it is very open and everyone is willing to share their lessons learned.”

“The conference not only addresses the classroom, but it acknowledges university infrastructure and how to foster this mindset among other faculty,” added Lerner. “Another hat I wear is helping develop new faculty, and I’m always looking at how to educate them on using project-based learning.”

The conference hosted nearly 600 attendees from approximately 80 institutions. “The variety of institutions represented means we were exposed to a lot of ideas and implementations; so it really opens up your own ideation of what is possible and what you could do,” said Lerner.

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