Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Engineering Leadership Development
But how do you Feel? Authentic Leadership Development Through a Student-Driven Laboratory Method
The mission of our leadership program is to develop authentic engineering leaders who have a positive impact on society. Since Bill George published his book “Authentic Leadership” in 2003, many leadership experts have researched the attributes and benefits of authentic leadership. Much less research has been done about the development of authentic leadership skills, yet leadership experts agree that a regular training or lecture will not be enough and (Eich 2008) emphasizes that an effective leadership development program must have the following attributes:
• participants are engaged in building and sustaining a learning community focused on the development of each member • student-centered experiential learning experience • research-grounded continuous program development
These attributes informed the design of our semester-long course which is based on a student-driven, student-centered, and highly experiential laboratory methodology. The objective of this course is to support our students with the development of their authentic leadership skills. We piloted our course in Spring 2017 with 13 students who met weekly for 165 minutes. The students start with a 30-minute discussion about the week’s reading assignments which includes theories, models and concepts related to intra- and interpersonal skill development, group dynamics, and group development. For the remaining time, the students engage in conversations and activities with the objectives to understand their impact on each other, to try out adjusted behaviors, and to gain insights into team dynamics and team development. The students write weekly reflection papers about their impressions, thoughts, and feelings they experienced during class. The semester-long course culminates with a weekend-long off-campus capstone experience which includes six additional intensive human interaction laboratories. After the weekend the students write a final paper.
We use the students’ weekly reflection papers and their final papers as the primary assessment data for our qualitative research. We also use the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ) components to code the student writing samples and assess the development of their authentic leadership skills. As an example, one ALQ component is described as “Shows he or she understands how specific actions impact others.” and we have seen that our students have improved greatly when it comes to understanding the impact of their actions on others.
The initial results of our research support our hypothesis that the used human interaction laboratory method supports students’ development of authentic leadership skills and we will use the reflection papers and final reports from our Fall 2017 class and the planned Spring 2018 classes to test our hypothesis.
Zorman, W. (2018, June), But How Do You Feel? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30167
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