Lawrence Tech shares Gold Edison Award for innovation

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Lawrence Technological University and the 19 other colleges and universities that comprise the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) were awarded a Gold Edison Award in the category of Collaborative Networks and Support at the Edison Awards 25th anniversary celebration on April 28 in New York City.

The Edison Awards promote the time-tested characteristics of innovation of visionaries such as Thomas Edison. The Edison Best New Product Awards have recognized and honored some of the most innovative products, services and business leaders in the world.

Lawrence Tech Provost Maria Vaz was one of four representatives of the KEEN network of colleges who were in New York to accept the award. The other representatives were from the University of Dayton, Saint Louis University and Santa Clara University.

The collegiate engineering programs in the KEEN network were recognized for their collaborative work together to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in all of the nearly 19,000 students they collectively teach.  In addition to the rigorous technical fundamentals they offer as part of their normal engineering curricula, these engineering programs offer experiential opportunities aimed at instilling in the students a set of professional skills necessary for their future work.

In 2009, Lawrence Tech was awarded a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to further integrate the entrepreneurial mindset in the education of undergraduate engineering students.

In 2010, Lawrence Tech and five other KEEN universities formed the Dynamic Compass Network (DCN) to share innovative approaches to entrepreneurial education in curricular innovation, faculty excellence, a community of practitioners, peer collaboration, continuous improvement, and experiential learning.

Lawrence Tech took the lead by implementing a pilot project that provided benchmarks for the network.

In 2011, the Kern Family Foundation awarded grants totaling $2.4 million over three years to pursue a new model of sharing innovative practices. Boston University, Gonzaga University, Kettering University, Saint Louis University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have joined Lawrence Tech as active participants, and future funding for each university will depend on the success of all six.

The six DCN universities are building on Lawrence Tech’s experiences and developing innovative programming through synergistic interaction. The Kern Family Foundation promotes this interaction through conferences, workshops, publications and a website.

The founders of the Kern Family Foundation, Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, have a strong commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which opens many doors for students to become productive citizens in a technology-driven world.

The Kerns believe that a solid background in engineering, coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset, is key to meeting the challenges that America will face in a rapidly changing global economy. The Kern Family Foundation’s mission includes the objectives of enriching lives by promoting educational excellence as well as high quality, innovative engineering talent.

Lawrence Technological University,, was founded in 1932. Bloomberg BusinessWeek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s upper third of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.