Kettering's Bell Tower

'Best in Class'

The award was presented by the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) during its winter convention in Orlando. Kettering Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Harris accepted the award during ceremonies Jan. 8.

Kettering University’s cutting-edge approach to educating for innovation and entrepreneurship has received a national award as ‘Best in Class” for teaching students how to become innovators.  The award was presented by the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) during its winter convention in Orlando. Kettering Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Harris accepted the award during ceremonies Jan. 8.

“The Kettering community is humbled and proud to accept this national acknowledgment of our leadership role in fostering a new paradigm to develop entrepreneurship, teamwork and innovation. It has become a core purpose in our educational approach,” Harris said. 

“We share a vision on our campus to become the nation’s model for the preparation of innovative engineers, scientists and business leaders.  Our philosophy of Entrepreneurship Across The Curriculum incorporates innovation, entrepreneurial concepts, attitude and understanding throughout the many courses a student takes. This is a defining paradigm that sets us apart. This ‘Best in Class’ award is a distinguished recognition of the vision, creativity and hard work of many that is evolving at Kettering University.”

Kettering President Stan Liberty said the University is honored to be singled out for this award, especially among the prestigious institutions in the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network.  "The Kern philosophy is based on excellence in customer awareness, business acumen, societal values and technical fundamentals."  President Liberty thanked Provost Harris for leading this valuable initiative that will have a long-term impact.

Harris said that among the activities, Kettering focused on two term-long faculty workshops, where 36 professors participated in meetings to shape the enhancement of the Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum program on campus.  “Faculty completed the program with knowledge, skills and a spirit for enhancing an academic culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that will impact students and we believe the region, the state and beyond,” he explained.

For example, Professor Doug Melton of Electrical and Computer Engineering was successful in getting his students to think creatively and competitively about developing new science and technology displays at the Flint Children’s Museum.  The project generated new exhibits for the museum, which is located on Kettering’s campus.
“The two faculty workshops got our faculty curious and interested to re-evaluate the connection between technical skills, innovation and economic well being,” Harris continued.  “Earlier we introduced an Entrepreneur and Innovation minor that includes classes ranging from ‘innovating new ventures’ to entrepreneurial finance to business law.  In addition, Kettering named a chair in Entrepreneurship. 

Additionally, Harris said, “we are just getting started.  Kettering is on its way to impact the region and the state. Innovation,” he argues “is a key element on competitiveness and we are committed to bring it back to the nation.”

Kettering’s involvement in KEEN

Kettering University has been involved with efforts by the Kern Family Foundation since 2006.  Kettering received two $50,000 grants through KEEN in 2006 and 2007 to implement courses in the entrepreneurial mindset and to develop the Kettering Entrepreneur Society (KES, KES is a student-led organization that sponsors business plan competitions, provides support services and seed funding for start-up businesses and innovation culture at Kettering.  Professors Andy Borchers, William Riffe and Massoud Tavakoli sparked the early efforts. 

In 2008, Kettering received $225,000 to develop and implement its innovative Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum program, that was recognized as 'Best in Class.'   President Liberty and Dr. Harris also worked personally with Robert and Patricia Kern, who encouraged Kettering to be an economic development engine for the state.

About KEEN
KEEN is a collaboration of 20 universities around the country that are working to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering and technology students.  Graduates of KEEN schools will be prepared to identify new business opportunities that are based upon technology, especially new technology.  The country’s KEEN institutions are:
Baylor University (Texas)
Boston University (Massachusetts)
Bradley University (Illinois)
Calvin College (Michigan)
Case Western Reserve University (Ohio)
Gonzaga University (Washington)
Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois)
Kettering University (Michigan)
Lawrence Technological University (Michigan)
Mercer University (Georgia)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wisconsin)
Norwich University (Vermont)
Ohio Northern University (Ohio)
St. Louis University (Missouri)
Santa Clara University (California)
University of Dayton (Ohio)
University of Detroit-Mercy (Michigan)
University of Evansville (Indiana)
Villanova University (Pennsylvania)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts)
For more information on the KEEN Network, visit:

Faculty workshop at Kettering
Among the faculty members attending Kettering forums/ workshops on “Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum” are:
Dr. Basem Alzahabi, Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Jennifer Aurandt, Chemistry/Biochemistry,
Dr. Andy Borchers, Business,
Dr. David Benson, Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Michael Callahan, Liberal Studies,
Dr. Gianfranco DiGiuseppe, Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Boyan Dimitrov, Mathematics,
Dr. Raghu Echempati, Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Ezekiel Gebissa, Liberal Studies,
Dr. Leszek Gawarecki, Mathematics,
Dr. John Geske, Computer Science,
Dr. Ruben Hayrapetyan, Mathematics,
Dr. Craig Hoff, Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Eugene Hynes, Liberal Studies,
Dr. Saroja Kanchi, Computer Science,
Dr. Ilya Kudish, Mathematics,
Dr. Cherng-Tarng Lin, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,
Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,
Dr. Doug Melton, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Dr. Juan Pimentel, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Dr. Bassem Ramadan, Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Badri Rao, Liberal Studies,
Dr. Corneliu Rablau, Physics,
Dr. William Riffe, Manufacturing Engineering and program administrator,
Dr. Bahram Roughani, Physics,
Dr. Laura Rust, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Dr. W.L. Scheller, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,
Dr. Stacy Seeley, Chemistry/Biochemistry,
Dr. Yuri Sikorski, Physics,
Dr. Richard Stanley, Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Massoud Tavakoli, Mechanical Engineering and the Provost’s coordinator of Entrepreneurship and Innovation,
Dr. Kevin TeBeest, Mathematics,
Dr. Girma Tewolde, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Dr. Mohammad Torfeh-Isfahani, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Dr. David Vineyard, Computer Science,
Dr. Lihua Wang, Chemistry/Biochemistry,
Dr. Benaiah Yongo-Bure, Liberal Studies.

Written by Pat Mroczek, with KEEN and Kettering sources