WPI Professor Receives the KEEN 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award

Professor Glenn Gaudette honored for his commitment to instilling the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students.

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Glenn Gaudette, a biomedical engineering professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been recognized by the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) as its 2015 Outstanding Faculty of the Year. Gaudette is credited with leading a team at WPI to implement a new program on campus, "Developing the Entrepreneurial Engineer." The program is designed to infuse the undergraduate experience with entrepreneurial experiences, challenges, and opportunities as students develop the skills they need to solve the grand challenges of the world.

"I was very surprised to win this award, and I’m very grateful," said Gaudette. "I am part of a wonderful team of educators and administrators who are truly passionate about incorporating an entrepreneurial mindset in our technical courses and as part of our core curriculum. WPI has worked hard to bring these programs to campus as the next step in our project-based education where impact will become an expectation of all WPI graduates."

The Kern Family Foundation created KEEN to support colleges and universities interested in developing innovative ways of instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students to help ensure that the United States remains competitive in the global marketplace. Its approach centers on teaching students to recognize and act on opportunities to create economic, personal, and societal impact. Students are challenged to be continually inquisitive about the world’s problems, to investigate them fully, to connect discoveries and ideas in order to seek solutions, and to develop viable results that create real value and meet the needs of the world around them.

"Glenn was a clear choice for the 2015 Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award", said Doug Melton, KEEN program director. "He has been a constant promoter of the transformative education students receive at WPI and provided exemplary leadership in establishing a connection with KEEN. He is respected by his peers and has the ability to work collegially within our network of schools."

Gaudette has served as an example for other faculty members by integrating entrepreneurial thinking and skills into his courses. Last year he worked with a team of 12 faculty members and two WPI trustees on a successful proposal to the Kern Family Foundation to further this approach on campus. The $488,500 award, received in July 2015, supports faculty training, a new problem-solving course for first-year students, extracurricular activities—including the student-initiated WPI Test Kitchen—and an annual team competition designed to reward the entrepreneurial mindset. These programs align with WPI's project-based approach to education, which helps students create value and have a positive impact on society.

Gaudette has also participated in many of the faculty development opportunities made available through two previous grants from The Kern Family Foundation, which originally brought WPI into KEEN. The network currently includes 22 universities from across the country that are collaborating and co-creating tools and resources to promote entrepreneurial engineering.

Roman Gutierrez '15 credits Gaudette with having a profound influence on his education. "Glenn helped fuel a passion for entrepreneurship through his class called Entrepreneurship in Biomedical Engineering Design. In a school in which so much emphasis is put on impact, entrepreneurship should be integrated in all levels of education. By injecting this spirit into the school through the KEEN programs, Glenn is helping create a new generation of WPI graduates with even more appropriate tools and skills to change the world."

Gaudette has been a member of WPI’s faculty since 2006. He holds a BS in mechanical engineering from University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, an MS in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary area of research involves studying treatments for cardiovascular diseases; he has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association.

Gaudette will receive the KEEN 2015 Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award on Jan. 5, 2016, at KEEN's winter conference in Tempe, Arizona. WPI President Laurie Leshin will be in attendance and will introduce the conference's keynote speaker, Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University.