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A College Wide Program For Teaching Leadership: Framework, Model, And Outcomes

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Liberal Education and Leadership

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.11.1 - 14.11.10



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Paper Authors

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Val Hawks Brigham Young University

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John Harb Brigham Young University

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Alan Parkinson Brigham Young University

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Spencer Magleby Brigham Young University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A College-wide Approach for Teaching and Developing Leadership: Model, Framework and Outcomes Introduction

In 2005 the College of Engineering and Technology at BYU began an initiative to assure that each student graduated with the ability to understand and practice leadership. This paper presents a comprehensive approach, resulting from this initiative, to define, develop, and implement the teaching of leadership in the context of engineering and technology curricula. After a rationale explaining why the college chose an emphasis on leadership, efforts in and selected results of the leadership initiative are documented, including 1) the development of a leadership model appropriate to engineering and technology education, 2) the definition of specific outcomes and curricular material related to leadership, and 3) the development of a framework for using the model and implementing leadership education throughout the college. The implementation strategy is based on Kolb’s Learning Cycle and takes advantage of college, departmental and external resources to achieve the desired outcomes. Examples of the types of activities and interventions used to teach leadership are given. Organizational and tactical plans to move the leadership initiative forward in a sustainable way are also discussed.

The Call for Leadership

To be successful and effective in the current technologically dependent, multi-disciplinary, global environment requires engineers and technologists to be more than just technically competent. In fact, calls for the engineer to possess more than just technical expertise are coming from all sides - especially from industry. Today the engineer must understand business processes, thrive in cross-functional teams, and communicate effectively with and lead others both locally and globally. Duderstadt, citing the National Science Board, said “In addition to analytic skills, which are well provided by the current education system, companies want engineers with passion, some systems thinking, an ability to innovate, an ability to work in multicultural environments, an ability to understand the business context of engineering, interdisciplinary skills, communication skills, leadership skills, an ability to adapt to changing conditions, and an eagerness for lifelong learning. This is a different kind of engineer from the norm that is being produced now.” 1

This is not a new but a repeated call. Ten years earlier, Farr, commenting on this need said, “Many recent reports from business and industry list leadership as one of the areas that must be shaped by engineering curricula to meet the needs of a modern industrial society. Also, a recurring theme from American business and industry is that leadership must emerge at all levels if we are to maintain our competitive edge. Because of the changing nature of modern engineering, young technical or staff engineers must grow into leadership roles faster than their predecessors.”2 In general the current engineering education system has been primarily concerned with the development of technical expertise and has not taught or promoted leadership education and development in a systematic way. Since the 1990’s industry has, been encouraging educational institutions to spend more effort on the development of communication and leadership skills in their graduates. A study completed in 1995 by American Society of

Hawks, V., & Harb, J., & Parkinson, A., & Magleby, S. (2009, June), A College Wide Program For Teaching Leadership: Framework, Model, And Outcomes Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5275

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015