July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Engineering Leadership Development
There is a rapidly growing body of literature on engineering leadership education for undergraduate students [1, 2, 3]. However, there is little published about leadership development for graduate students. There have been calls from national bodies to create and expand professional development opportunities for graduate students [4-6], and leadership education is ripe to complement highly technical disciplines. Leadership education cultivates self-awareness, clarifies personal vision, and hones interpersonal and teamwork competencies. These critical skills enhance the experience of students in their studies and prepare students to succeed in their future careers.
In this paper we discuss how the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at the University of Toronto supports the leadership development of graduate students, including PhD students and research- and professional-based Masters students. We approach leadership education for graduate students by fostering a vibrant learning ecosystem including three learning environments: for-credit courses, co-curricular programming, and practical leadership experiences. We aim to: 1) cultivate graduate student self-leadership, 2) support the emergence of personal vision, and 3) create opportunities for community building and connection.
We offer seven, graduate-level courses but highlight four here – one on emotional intelligence, one on personal values, one on presentations, and one on positive psychology. Each of these courses aims to foster greater self-awareness, confidence, and personal vision. The second learning environment is The OPTIONS Program, a professional-preparation, cohort-based program that supports graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in exploring diverse career pathways. Through this program participants envision and move towards their desired future. The third learning environment is ILead:Grad, a student-led group that coordinates workshops and events to foster a culture of leadership development. By working in a team and building a shared vision, students get the experience of collaborating with others to design initiatives, making decisions as a group, and leading in their community.
We conclude the paper with a list of recommendations to support educators to create opportunities for graduate students to engage with leadership development.
Topic Area: Design
Submission Type: Practice
References  M. Klassen, D. Reeve, C. Rottmann, R. Sacks, A. Simpson, and A. Huynh, “Charting the landscape of engineering leadership education in North American universities,” in Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2016. [Online]. Available: 10.18260/p.26486. [Accessed: Oct 8, 2020].  C. Rottmann and M. Handley, “We the North: Engineering Leadership Programs in Canada,” American Society for Engineering Education, 2020. Accessed: Jan 13, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://istep.utoronto.ca/files/2020/11/We-the-North-Engineering-Leadership-Programs-in-Canada-final-copy.pdf  R. Paul and L. Gradon Cowe Falls, “Engineering leadership education: A review of best practices,” in Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5619-5754. [Accessed: Oct 8, 2020].  J. Edge and D. Munro, “Inside and Outside the Academy: Valuing and Preparing PhDs for Careers,” The Conference Board of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2015. pp. 22, 54-66. Accessed: Jan 13, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=7564&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1  L. Jonker, “Ontario’s PhD Graduates From 2009: Where Are They Now?,” Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Toronto, ON, 2016. pp. 15-16, 24. Accessed: Jan 13, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://heqco.ca/pub/ontarios-phd-graduates-from-2009-where-are-they-now/  A. Leshner and L. Scherer, Eds, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Graduate STEM Education in the 21st Century, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018.
Didiano, T. J., & Simpson, A. E., & Reeve, D. (2021, July), A Leadership-Development Ecosystem for Engineering Graduate Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36589
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: © 2021 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