New dual degree encourages engineering entrepreneurship

ECE News

Mike Koon, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
10/4/2016 8:40:40 AM

Story Highlights

The College of Engineering has formally launched a new dual-degree program in Innovation, Leadership, and Engineering Entrepreneurship. The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the degree, which will open next semester for all engineering students, including ECE majors.

Engineering at Illinois announced plans to offer the degree in May after gaining initial approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Already about 60 students have indicated their intentions to pursue an ILEE degree, a second bachelor’s degree option for those completing their degree in one of the College of Engineering traditional disciplines. The degree combines the technical expertise from Illinois’ world-renowned engineering program with a deeper set of innovation and leadership skills.

The ILEE degree grows out of a host of courses and programming that have been offered by the College’s Technology Entrepreneur Center since 2000. Today more than 1,000 students take at least one TEC course each year, and participation has doubled in just the last five years.

The degree gives formal recognition to the work being done by undergraduate students, who as early as their freshman year are active in entrepreneurship through such programs at the Cozad New Venture competition. The competition’s graduates, like Adam Tilton, co-founder and CEO of Rithmio, have successfully garnered millions of dollars in funding to advance their companies.

The ILEE degree is an example of how Engineering at Illinois continues to strengthen its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Last year, the College announced the Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellows program, which gives faculty financial resources and time away from their classroom and committee obligations to pursue commercialization of their innovations. Rather than that pursuit happening elsewhere, it does so on campus with strong student involvement.

The College has also partnered with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to foster startups with members from each university. It gives those startups access to resources on both campuses.

In announcing the launch of the ILEE degree in May, Andreas Cangellaris, dean of the College of Engineering said, “Today’s students are already heavily investing their time and energy in entrepreneurship and innovation as they study engineering. It is our job to amplify that and make sure our students can use that energy to have world-changing impact.”

This article also appears on the Engineering at Illinois website here

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