New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering Leadership Development Division
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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