Students afraid of failure? Learn how to foster their "productive failure mindset" that embraces risk-taking and drives ongoing learning!

When: July 29 - August 1, 2024
Where: Albuquerque, NM

The Entrepreneurial Mindset (EM) explicitly speaks to “Exploring a Contrarian View” (Curiosity) “Assessing and Managing Risk” (Connections), and “Persisting and Learning Through Failure” (Creating Value). However, we increasingly see students who are afraid of failure, who avoid taking risks, and who focus on getting A’s instead of engaging in the difficult and sometimes contrarian act of learning.

Fostering a productive failure mindset is an ongoing challenge to developing an EM in our students. Learning from Failure with Mastery-Based Learning (LFF) will teach you how to create and implement teaching tools that will help students develop a mindset of productive failure and risk-taking at one of four scales: 1) single-lecture activities, 2) course projects, 3) individual courses taught with mastery-based learning, and 4) cohesive competency-based curriculum.

Who Should Attend: Faculty from any discipline, of any experience level, who desire for their students to take more learning risks, learn from rather than avoid failure, and prioritize learning rather than getting a grade.

Registration Opens: February 8, 2024

Registration Closes: April 5, 2024

3 Key Takeaways:

Everything you learn from the facilitation and coaching team and other participants can be immediately applied to your context and topics of interest.

  • Explain how EM is related to productive failure and risk-taking.

  • Practice failure-based learning activities that can be easily incorporated into a single lecture period.

  • Create modifications to a course project and its assessment that embraces risk-taking and productive failure.

Registration Countdown

Register for LFF before before registration closes on April 5, 2024!

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Workshop Phases

Each EUFD National workshop consists of three distinct phases, the Quickstart, Meetup, and Press Onward, over the course of a year.

  • 1. QuickStart

    The QuickStart course begins your adventure. You can start your journey immediately after registering. In this self-paced online course, you will begin learning the central ideas of the workshop and how they apply the entrepreneurial mindset (EM). The facilitation team has customized your introduction to the workshops topics and will ask you to identify a candidate project.

  • 2. Meetup

    Within the Meetup course and event, you will interact (and likely even have some fun) with the facilitation team and other participants. The Meetup for this particular workshop will be in-person! Up to thirty participants will meet in Albuquerque, NM from July 29 - August 1, 2024. Learning from each other is always one of the most valuable and memorable parts of any workshop sequence. Individual participants will arrive — and a community will emerge.

  • 3. Press Onward

    Pressing Onward can be transformative. Following the Meetup event you will have a series of online meetings over the course of the year with members of the coaching team, individually or with other participants. The ample time between meetings affords an opportunity to develop your ideas and experiment. Get real results as you apply what you learned and share discoveries along the way. When complete, you'll publish a card on to serve as a resource for the community.

Facilitators and Coaches

Facilitator & Coach

Sara Atwood

Dr. Sara Atwood is the inaugural Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Elizabethtown College. She joined Etown as an Assistant Professor of Engineering in 2010, where she subsequently became Chair of the Engineering Department. She earned her B.A. and M.S. in Engineering Science at Dartmouth College and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Atwood is passionate about engineering education at teaching-focused institutions, integrating engineering and the liberal arts, and engaging students from historically excluded identities in engineering. She has been recognized as a thought-leader in mastery-based engineering pedagogy. Atwood has been highly engaged in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) throughout her career and is the recipient of the Mara Washburn Early Engineering Educator Grant from the Women in Engineering Division as well as co-authoring the Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper in 2018. She has also won multiple awards at Elizabethtown College including the Center for Civic and Community Engagement Faculty Award. Atwood serves as an ABET program evaluator, a member of the Executive Board of the ASEE Engineering Dean’s Council, has published in the Journal of Engineering Education, and has received over $2 million in engineering education funding from the NSF, including her current work through the Broadening Participation program launching an Etown engineering education innovation center located in Montpelier, VT called the Greenway Center for Sustainability and Equity.

Facilitator & Coach

Joshua Gargac

Joshua Gargac is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University and was a 2022 Engineering Unleashed Fellow. Across his academic career, Josh has often times failed as an instructor, capstone advisor, researcher, and colleague. The lessons learned from these many failures motivated him to adopt pedagogy that encourages students to also learn from their own mistakes. Josh first developed mastery-based assessments in 2020 and can’t wait to help you make the switch.


Kurt DeGoede

Dr. DeGoede is a Professor of Engineering and Physics at Elizabethtown College. He completed a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan after studying at Hope College and Case Western Reserve University and working as a project manager at Ford Motor Company. He has divided his research between multidisciplinary biomechanics projects, cross-cultural design in West Africa, and engineering education. He teaches across the curriculum from 1st-semester students in all disciplines of engineering to 4th-year students in mechanical engineering. Since 2016 he has used a Mastery-Based-Learning (MBL) scheme in several courses, has spearheaded a strategic department-wide transition to MBL in select courses, and has co-led over 10 workshops on MBL for 10 different conferences and institutions. Word on the street is that he escapes faculty meetings by literally running off to cross country/track practices, bicycles to campus in ill-advised conditions, and hacks away on the tenor sax with the college jazz band.


Shuvra Das

Transform your teaching, research, or service.

Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development Workshops deliver actionable, adaptable strategies and resources that empower you to create long-lasting value with the entrepreneurial mindset (EM). Expert faculty from top institutions have created these workshops that provide guidance to complete a project while collaborating with faculty from across the nation.