Spring 2006

UDM to offer entrepreneurship program

Beginning this fall, UDM will pilot elements of an entrepreneurship program, involving a mix of students from diverse disciplines. The goal is to instill an entrepreneurial mindset and competencies aimed at making a difference in the workplace and in society.

"Entrepreneurship and innovation are the driving forces for global competition and job creation," says Leo E. Hanifin, dean, College of Engineering & Science. "Our region and our nation need more entrepreneurs if we are to sustain our position as a world leader."

A cornerstone of the program is the IDEAS (interdisciplinary design, entrepreneurship and service) studio-based design course in which a team of junior-year students from architecture, business administration, digital media, psychology and engineering will work on projects that address critical needs of the Detroit community. IDEAS is being developed through a grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

A second grant from the Kern Foundation (also through NCIIA) provides support to develop the overall Entrepreneurship Program at UDM. Other financial supporters include Ford Motor Company and the Jesuit 100 alumni group. Collaborative partners include the Small Business Association of Michigan; NEXT Energy, a research incubator focused on alternative energy, and the Engineering Society of Detroit.

In addition to IDEAS, offerings eventually will include an "entrepreneurship for engineers" course and a joint engineering and business senior product design course. For their projects, students will employ UDM's Denso Team Design Center, the Visteon Prototype Center and a new "design studio" in the Engineering Annex.

Nassif Rayess, Jonathan Weaver, and Oswald Mascarenas, S.J.
UDM faculty leading new entrepreneurship program: (from left) Nassif Rayess, Jonathan Weaver, and Oswald Mascarenas, S.J.

The grant from the Kern Foundation designates two "KEEN Scholars" to lead UDM's efforts. They are Jonathan M. Weaver, associate professor, Mechanical Engineering and Oswald Mascarenhas, S.J.,professor of Marketing. Nassif Rayess, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering, is the principle investigator for the IDEAS course development.

"With this program, we hope to instill an action-oriented entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate students in engineering, science, business and other disciplines," explains Weaver. "That mindset is characterized by vision, passion, optimism, ability to recognize and act on opportunity, persistence, team-orientation, ability to think outside the box, tolerance for ambiguity, ability to manage risk, good communication skills and ability to define problems."

Adds Rayess, "In today's world, the only job security for an engineer rests in his/her ability to adapt, innovate and recognize opportunities. Entrepreneurs have vision, motivation and the ability to get things done. By sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship, we hope to graduate students who will seek to make a difference in their company, their communities and society as a whole."

Following evaluations and enhancements, UDM plans to develop and pilot an entrepreneurship certificate program in 2007-2008 and an entrepreneurship minor, with approval, in 2008-2009.

The program complements existing programs relating to business and entrepreneurship such as K-12 Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies modules, the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program for minority students and Markets Without Borders, which focuses on the global economy.

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Save the dates!

Jesuit founders Loyola, Faber, and Xavier

Sept. 25 – Oct. 7: UDM will celebrate Founders Week and Jesuit Jubilee, including a visit from the Superior General of the Jesuit order, The Very Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
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