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Developing a New Generation of Leadership at the University of Calgary: Case Study of the Maier Student Leadership Program

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Curriculum in Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.486.1 - 26.486.9



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Paper Authors


Lynne Cowe Falls University of Calgary

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Lynne Cowe Falls, PhD, P. Eng., FCAE, FCSCE, is an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering, the University of Calgary. She is a co-author of over 30 technical papers and several books in the area of pavement and infrastructure management and most recently of Current Pavement Management. With over 20 years in industry prior to joining the University of Calgary, she is a Vice-President and Board Member of the Transportation Association of Canada

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Robyn Paul University of Calgary Orcid 16x16

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Robyn is a Master's student researching engineering leadership education at the University of Calgary. She graduated from Manufacturing Engineering in 2011 and worked in industry for a few years before returning to school.

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Gord Aker P.Eng. PCC Logical Leadership

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Gord Aker, P.Eng. is a Professional Engineer and Executive Coach. In addition to his graduate degree in engineering, he holds the Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF). With over 22 years of organizational leadership experience, in 2006 Aker started Logical Leadership with the objective of helping people discover, develop and deploy their innate leadership talent. His work with young professionals has included a number of Canada’s top companies and he is the co-founder and primary consultant to the Maier Student Leadership Program at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.

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Developing a New Generation of Leadership at the _Institution_: Case Study on the _Name_ Student Leadership ProgramAbstractThere is an increasing understanding amongst engineering academic institutions of theimportance in educating engineers not only to have technical skills, but also professional skills.The Canadian engineering graduate attributes specifically mention certain skills, including theability to undertake leadership roles within team environments. However, formal leadershipeducation is rarely included in engineering curriculum. Thus, leadership training becomes theresponsibility of the employer, or the skills must be acquired through on-the-job experience.In 2006, the _Institution_ recognized and acted upon this opportunity to provide engineeringstudents with a unique and powerful means of enhancing their leadership abilities whilecompleting their degree programs. The _Name_ Student Leadership Program providesengineering students who have demonstrated an interest in leadership with the opportunity toaccelerate their leadership development and realise their full leadership potential. This includesstudents involved in engineering students’ societies, competitive teams and student clubs. Thispaper will describe the program structure, the content presented, and some of the feedbackreceived from participants.Elements of the program include individual coaching, formal learning in classroom andworkshop settings, and two annual conferences. The conferences include sessions on leadership,guest panels or keynotes from industry, interactive workshops, and networking with peers. Thepower of the program comes from combining the practical leadership experience the studentsreceive as a result of their roles in various student societies and project teams with leadershiptraining, mentoring and coaching. This allows the students not only to learn new skills andknowledge but to apply and adapt these elements in a real work situation all within the securityof a safe learning environment.Reflections will be made by looking at historical feedback data and accounts from the foundingmembers of the program, who have been involved in all of its eight years. It is anticipated that anunderstanding will be gained into the students’ perceptions of the offered activities and thestudents’ commitment to their own personal leadership development. This case study willprovide a model for undergraduate institutions looking to provide similar engineering leadershipdevelopment opportunities.

Cowe Falls, L., & Paul, R., & Aker, G. (2015, June), Developing a New Generation of Leadership at the University of Calgary: Case Study of the Maier Student Leadership Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23825

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