July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Engineering Leadership Development
Over the past two decades there has been abundant discussion, research and subsequent publication about the need for leadership skill development both for newly minted and seasoned engineers. The calls have come from both engineering practice and academic communities, and the expectations have been codified by ABET for engineering academic preparatory programs. But there is a dearth of information about whether, and how, this education has been of value to the graduates and their organizations. This study documents the results of a survey of graduates of several post-graduate engineering degree programs offered at a Midwest university offering ABET- accredited programs regarding the development, deployment and personal outcomes of a leadership program for engineers, how the graduates have used this learning, and the perceived long-term career and personal value of that leadership education experience. This study that surveyed alumni from 13 years of the course’s history identifies long-term benefits of their learning and aspects of the curriculum they perceived as most valuable. The paper also describes how the leadership course has evolved in response to changing student demographics and a continuous improvement process. Initially, three one-credit courses (LLL series) were strategically spread throughout the degree cycle which evolved to a single three-credit course. The paper also discusses the pros and cons of this evolution that was shaped by the graduates’ comments in the survey. Alumni of the LLL series as well as the students in the three-credit course identified the most valued course components as the assessments, peer and instructor feedback, and structured small group discussions. These positive impressions of benefit and value appear to be stable and enduring, as evidenced in the findings discussed in this paper from the course alumni years later in their career. The longevity of learning and course impact are often an unknown in academia. The findings of this study suggest that leadership development can be meaningfully facilitated among engineering and technology graduate students through a graduate program course, setting the trajectory for subsequent growth and enduring benefit. The results also suggest which aspects of leadership development would be most important in programs for undergraduate engineering students.
Bennett, R. J., & Audette, E. J., & Millam, E. R., & Moravetz, A. K., & Niebuhr, S. (2021, July), A Study of Alumni of the 'Leveraging Leadership for a Lifetime' Leadership Development Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36613
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