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Convergent Approaches for Developing Engineering Leadership in Undergraduates

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Competency and Skill Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

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Paper Authors


Meagan R. Kendall University of Texas at El Paso

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An Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, Dr. Meagan R. Kendall is helping develop a new Engineering Leadership Program to enable students to bridge the gap between traditional engineering education and what they will really experience in industry. With a background in both engineering education and design thinking, her research focuses on how Hispanic students develop an identity as an engineer, methods for enhancing student motivation, and methods for involving students in curriculum development and teaching through Peer Designed Instruction.

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Debbie Chachra Olin College of Engineering

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Debbie Chachra is a Professor of Engineering at Olin College of Engineering. Her education-related research interests include self-efficacy, design, intrinsic motivation, and gender. She speaks and consults on curricular design, student-centered learning, and gender and STEM.

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Kate Roach UCL

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Emanuela Tilley University College London


Kyle G. Gipson James Madison University

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Dr. Kyle Gipson is an Associate Professor at James Madison University (United States) in the Department of Engineering (Madison Engineering) and the Director of the Madison Engineering Leadership Program. He has taught courses focused on first-year engineering students, materials science and engineering, engineering design, systems thinking and engineering leadership. He has a PhD in Polymer, Fiber Science from Clemson University. His research background is in the synthesis of polymer nanocomposites and engineering education. He was trained as a Manufacturing Process Specialist within the textile industry, which was part of an eleven-year career that spanned textile manufacturing to product development.

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Here we describe a shared approach to engineering leadership that provides the foundation of four disparate engineering programs, all of which undertake to support and develop undergraduate leadership either explicitly (University of Texas at El Paso and James Madison University) or implicitly (Olin College of Engineering and the Integrated Engineering Programme at University College London). All four programs have independently converged on similar pedagogical approaches to engineering leadership that include both a broad conception of technical excellence and elements of interpersonal interaction. This emergent model of engineering leadership bears striking similarities to some recent top-down models of engineering leadership.

In taking our programs as case studies, we demonstrate a focus on both student academic and personal development. These cases probe some of the shifts that have taken place in engineering education on both sides of the Atlantic in response to calls from professional policymakers and educators for technical education to include the development of professional and interpersonal skills, and consideration of the broader social context of technical work. Collectively, these four case studies also illustrate how intentional, carefully-scaffolded learning experiences in collaborative project-work and design lay the groundwork for our students to continue to develop as engineering leaders after graduation.

Kendall, M. R., & Chachra, D., & Roach, K., & Tilley, E., & Gipson, K. G. (2018, June), Convergent Approaches for Developing Engineering Leadership in Undergraduates Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30225

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