June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.125.1 - 13.125.19
A Team Leader Selection Process for Project-Based Learning Experiences
First-year chemical engineering students at the University Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain) carry out an integrated design project organized in teams. This project lasts two successive fifteen-week periods and all of the first-year courses participate actively in it, hence the adjective integrated. The goal of this project is that first-year students learn by themselves certain contents of each first-year course and that they apply this knowledge to solve several design problems that may be posed when designing a specific chemical plant. Project teams must also identify and define these design problems taking into account first-year instructors’ requirements. To help first-year project teams cope with this challenging experience, project teams are led and managed by fourth-year students who are enrolled in the fourth-year Project Management in Practice (PMP) course. Leadership is a key component for the success of any team and consequently the selection of first-year project team leaders is a key process of the PMP course. The selection process has been designed to select about a dozen students, which represents about one third of PMP’s students, who have the highest potential to lead and manage a project team and who are willing to do so. The selection process is structured in three main steps: (1) pre-selection: academic qualification and motivation to be a leader, (2) screening: personality profile, (3) selection: demonstration of the leadership competence. In the first step, all students enrolled in the PMP course have to fill out a short form to check their academic eligibility for the position and their motivation to be a leader. In the second step, all PMP’s students are asked to complete three psychometric tests: Belbin’s Team Role Inventory, Myers-Briggs Inventory, and Leadership Style Inventory. The analysis of the results obtained from steps one and two using a set of research-based criteria yields a list of candidates. Finally, PMP’s instructors conduct behaviour-based interviews to all candidates to validate test findings and assess their level of leadership competence to ensure that the best candidates are chosen for the position.
The School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Rovira I Virgili (Tarragona, Spain) deploys an Integrated Design Project (IDP) approach in which first and fourth year courses are horizontally and vertically integrated1. This 1st-4th year IDP approach integrates all first year courses horizontally into a design project by which first year students are teamed up and challenged to design a specific chemical plant or product by applying the theoretical knowledge from first-year courses. First-year teams work during two consecutive fifteen-week periods towards the development and accomplishment of the design project consistent with the requirements of clients; first- year course instructors.
To help first year students manage this challenging project, part of the fourth year students who are enrolled to Project Management in Practice (PMP) course are selected to take on the leader role of first-year project teams. PMP course, offered annually, places premium on the development of leadership competence of fourth-year
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