The Dartmouth Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP) at the Thayer School of Engineering is a multi-disciplinary educational paradigm that integrates entrepreneurship and leadership training into all aspects of its curriculum. At the undergraduate level, students are immersed in liberal arts as well as interdisciplinary project-based teamwork activities. Thayer’s Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M) program is a partnership with Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business that is specifically designed to prepare students for technology leadership positions by allowing them to take management courses. The DEEP Ph.D. Innovation program, a special track within the doctoral program, trains students to develop entrepreneurial skills, while enabling them to pursue independent research and develop commercialization methods for their discoveries.
John Collier is credited with transforming Thayer’s Introduction to Engineering course in the 1980s. He altered the class, which began in the 1960s, to focus on project-based learning and hands-on technical skills. Collier designed the course so that students are introduced to engineering as a member of a team who is working on an engineering design solution to a general problem in the commercial market. He builds on students’ leadership skills through the identification of milestones, team work, interaction with industry experts, and presentation in front of clients, peers, and leaders. Collier currently serves as the Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation at Dartmouth College.
Charles Hutchinson developed the M.E.M program in 1989 while serving as dean of the Thayer School of Engineering. He created the program with the mission “to develop managers who understand both the engineering and business aspects of technology.” The coursework for the program is augmented to include engineering courses with business management and entrepreneurship classes. After retiring as dean of the Thayer School of Engineering in 1994, Hutchinson returned as dean from 1997-1998.
In 2003, Co-Director of M.E.M Robert Graves expanded the program to require students to undertake an engineering internship grounded in technology-focused areas. Graves designed the project course to include a thorough analysis of prevalent and emerging technologies in fields of critical interest such as health, energy, the environment, and other complex systems, and then to recommend and justify actions for its further development. The purpose of this course is to teach students how to work as technological thinkers while taking into account market demands, product feasibility, and ethical considerations. Graves is the John H. Krehbiel Senior Professor for Emerging Technologies and an adjunct professor in the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business.
Joseph Helble launched Thayer’s Ph.D. Innovation program in 2008 as the nation’s first doctoral-level program focused on both innovation and entrepreneurship. In designing the curriculum, Helble placed a special emphasis on creating a hands-on approach to preparing students to build enterprises based on their technical innovations. Students in the program are asked to identify a new technology that they propose as a foundation for a new venture and develop an inclusive plan for implementing and executing the enterprise. The plan must take into account market issues, property issues, product commercialization, financial planning, raising capital, leadership, and administrative issues including personnel, infrastructure, and competition. In addition to making sure students receive comprehensive training in technical entrepreneurship, Helble also included the opportunity for students to receive funding for their proposed ventures. Helble currently serves as the dean and professor of engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering.
For details about the The Dartmouth Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP) at the Thayer School of Engineering, please visit their website.