(360f) Developing the Complete Chemical Engineer: Creative, Innovative and Entrepreneurial

Diwakar, V. - Presenter, Tennessee Technological University
Pascal, J. - Presenter, Tennessee Technological University
Arce, P. - Presenter, Tennessee Technological University

The need for innovative and creative engineers has never been greater than it is now. Through a number of sponsored programs, NSF, NAE and ASEE independently promote and indentify the importance of innovative and creative engineers. In addition, many Engineering Research Centers (ERC) sponsored by the NSF have identified that a 21st century engineer should be: Creative, Innovative and with an Entrepreneurial spirit, while the NAE clarifies the need for innovation both in classrooms and the real world. The need for transforming the engineer is therefore a more fundamental one and they should be developed during their years of training in colleges and universities. The traditional classroom is mostly a one-way street with instruction/lecturing centered on the faculty member. Studies show that the large majority of engineering programs in the US still employ this form of instruction. While this may appear to be the preferred method of instruction even in other disciplines, e.g., humanities, arts, etc?, the brazen fact that innovation is stymied by traditional lectures in engineering classrooms cannot be ignored. The traditional classroom needs to be replaced with a model that fosters innovation and creativity. In this contribution, we present an effective environment, i.e., Hi-PeLE, a High Performance Learning Environment that highly drives students to be creative and innovative by building a conducive environment for learning as well as entrepreneurial activities. Details that illustrate the particular characteristics of Hi-PeLE are presented and discussed.