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Developing Engineering Leaders: An Organized Innovation Approach to Engineering Education

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Student and Other Views on Engineering Leadership

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

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Paper Authors


Sara Jansen Perry Baylor University

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Sara Jansen Perry is an assistant professor of management in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. She teaches human resource management and negotiation courses. She earned her PhD in 2009 from the University of Houston in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, also earning the Meredith P. Crawford fellowship in I-O Psychology from HumRRO that year. She won the Engineering Management division best presentation award at the 2015 ASEE conference in Seattle. Sara conducts research in innovation, leadership, and stress-related topics.

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Emily M Hunter Baylor University

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Emily M. Hunter, Associate Professor of Management in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, earned her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston in 2009. She teaches negotiation and organizational behavior and conducts research on work-family conflict, employee deviance and servant leadership.

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Ed Frauenheim Great Place to Work Institute

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Ed Frauenheim has been a writer, editor and commentator for nearly 20 years. He has focused on the intersection of work, technology and society. He is co-author of two books: Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era and Organized Innovation: A Blueprint for Renewing America's Prosperity. Ed currently is Director of Research and Content at Great Place to Work Institute, which works to improve society by transforming workplaces. Prior to this role, he worked as a journalist at publications including Workforce magazine, CNET and The Oakland Tribune. He has contributed articles to publications including Fortune, Wired,, The San Jose Mercury News, The San Diego Union-Tribune and The Seattle Times.

Ed’s stories have earned honors from American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors, the Associated Press News Executive Council of California and Nevada, and the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In addition, Good Company earned the 2012 Gold Nautilus Book Award in the Business/Leadership category.

Ed has spoken to live and broadcast audiences on subjects including innovation strategy, corporate social responsibility and the future of work.

Along with Organized Innovation co-authors Sara Jansen Perry and Emily M. Hunter, Ed delivered a day-long workshop on the principles of the book to affiliates of the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative at Baylor University.

Ed graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in History. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of California at Berkeley.

Ed lives in San Francisco with his wife and two kids.

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Steven C. Currall Southern Methodist University

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Steven C. Currall is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern Methodist University. As Provost, he oversees the university’s academic activity including seven academic units: Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman School of Law, Meadows School of the Arts, Lyle School of Engineering, Perkins School of Theology, and Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He is also responsible for additional units that include the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Central University Libraries, satellite Campuses in Plano, Texas and at Taos, New Mexico, the Office of Assessment and Accreditation, the Office of Institutional Research, the International Center, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Division of Enrollment Services (undergraduate admission, office of financial aid, student financials office, and the Registrar), and several student programs such as the SMU honors groups.
At SMU, Currall is the David B. Miller Endowed Professor. He also holds academic appointments as Professor of Management and Organization in the Cox School of Business. He is also Adjunct Professor of Psychology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Engineering Management, Information, and Systems in the Lyle School of Engineering.
Currall previously worked at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), where he served as Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for Strategic Projects and Initiatives and as Professor of Management. As Chancellor's Senior Advisor, Currall co-chaired campus- wide strategic visioning exercises to position UC Davis as the "University of the 21st Century." He also led planning for an additional campus in the Sacramento region, which included the academic strategy, financial plan, fundraising plan, analysis of physical facilities, organization of advisory groups, and liaison to the Academic Senate.
He has served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and member of the Executive Committee for the 10-campus University of California system's Global Health Institute. He also served on the Boards of Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area Council and the California Life Sciences Association
Additional leadership experience included serving as the Dean of the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis, leading the School to the highest ranking in its history; Endowed Chair holder; founding Chair of an academic department; leadership of seven centers/institutes, and campus-wide service roles as Chair of the Task Force on Faculty Salary Equity, Chair of the Strategic Review of Human Resources, Chair of Board of Directors of the Ecosystem for Biophotonics Innovation, Vice Chair of Chancellor's Blue Ribbon Committee on Research, and member of the Vision of Excellence committee.
A psychological scientist, Currall has conducted research and taught for nearly three decades on organizational psychology topics such as innovation, emerging technologies, negotiation, and corporate governance. At the invitation of the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Currall was a member of the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group. He has been a grantee on $21,533,893 in external funding of which over 78% came from refereed research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health. Currall was lead author of a book on university-business-government collaboration entitled, Organized Innovation: A Blueprint for Renewing America's Prosperity (Oxford, 2014). Based on a study funded by the NSF, the book is the culmination of a 10-year research project on interdisciplinary research involving science, engineering, and medicine. He has served as a member of several editorial review boards such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, and Organization Science. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Currall has served as a member of the boards of BioHouston (interim Vice Chair; Executive Committee; chair of Governance Committee), Leadership in Medicine, Inc., Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas, and Interferometrics, Inc., a venture-funded medical device start-up. He has been quoted over 600 times in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, Business Week, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television, and the Nightly Business Report on public television.

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In addition to providing technical expertise in their respective fields, engineers are increasingly assuming leadership roles in industry, government, and non-profit organizations. We draw from lessons learned in our decade-long study of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) program to provide both a theoretical framework and tangible recommendations to educators interested in engineering leadership development. In addition to producing impressive and economically important innovations, the ERC program is an exemplar model for educating engineers who are also uniquely positioned as leaders. ERCs expose students to real-world practices of engineering, providing them with on-the-job training in critical leadership and technical areas. Students often act as the “glue” that binds together ERC researchers from different domains, thereby catalyzing communication across disciplines, organizations, job levels, and cultures. ERC-trained students also learn how to manage projects, engage in strategic problem-solving, and implement decisions as they pursue interdisciplinary project work throughout the engineering curricula. In particular, a 2006 NSF study found that 60 percent of the new courses introduced through ERCs had multidisciplinary content as well as a systems focus. Industry has recognized the competitive advantage of graduates from ERC educational programs; nine in ten company supervisors report that former ERC students and graduates are better prepared to work in industry than equivalent hires without ERC experience. Nearly 75 percent of those supervisors say employees with ERC experience were better able to develop new technologies. In addition, hiring students with ERC experience is one of the most prized benefits to companies working with the ERCs. We draw on lessons learned from our decade-long study of the NSF ERC program to propose the Organized Innovation Model for Education, which provides guidance for educators and scholars interested in developing highly skilled engineers who are also leaders.

Perry, S. J., & Hunter, E. M., & Frauenheim, E., & Currall, S. C. (2016, June), Developing Engineering Leaders: An Organized Innovation Approach to Engineering Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26755

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