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Developing Students' Abilities In Technical Leadership: The Rose Hulman Leadership Academy

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Liberal Education and Leadership

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.458.1 - 14.458.9



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Paper Authors


James Hanson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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James Hanson is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Rose-Hulman where he has been teaching since 2002. Among the courses he teaches is the capstone design course where he mentors team leaders. He has received several teaching awards including the ASEE Illinois-Indiana Section Outstanding Teaching Award and the ASEE Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award. He has four years experience as a US Army officer where he led combat ready units. Recently he helped initiate the Rose-Hulman Leadership Academy.

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Julia Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Julia M. Williams is Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment & Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana. Her articles on writing assessment, electronic portfolios, ABET, and tablet PCs have appeared in the Technical Communication Quarterly, Technical Communication: Journal of the Society for Technical Communication, The International Journal of Engineering Education, Journal of Engineering Education, and The Impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-based Technology on Education. She is the recipient of the 2007 HP Technology for Teaching Award and the 2008 Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees Outstanding Scholar Award.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Developing Students’ Abilities in Technical Leadership: The Rose-Hulman Leadership Academy


The importance of leadership skills for engineers is reflected in the addition of “leadership” to the institutional student learning outcomes of our college. In recognition of that importance, the Rose-Hulman Leadership Academy was created to help develop leadership confidence in students with untapped leadership potential. This paper provides an overview of the objectives of the Leadership Academy, the curriculum used, and the impact on student confidence. Student self-assessment tools showed that students’ self-confidence grew over the course of the academy. Our conclusions indicate that the Leadership Academy provides skills development opportunities that are important for engineering students who will fill roles as technical leaders in the future.


In the summer of 2007, engineering programs at Rose-Hulman were re-accredited under ABET, Inc. and the Engineering Accreditation Council. The receipt of re-accreditation was the culmination of a six year process, and the core of our work to be re-accredited included assessment of student learning related to a set of institutional outcomes. Results of assessment— conducted through our digital portfolio system—were used by engineering programs to plan curricular changes and make improvements. The end of the cycle in 2007, however, only meant the beginning of a new cycle of accreditation, and for many of us at Rose-Hulman, we saw this as an opportunity to review the institute student learning outcomes and revise them to reflect new challenges our graduates must meet as they move into the engineering workforce and to graduate school. Some of the institute outcomes, like communication, teams, and ethics, remained important outcomes to continue to assess, both for the purpose of our institutional focus and for program accreditation requirements. In addition, we saw new challenges for our students, reflected in important publications like Rising Above the Gathering Storm (Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, 2007) and Educating The Engineer of 2020 (National Academy of Engineering, 2005), publications that pointed us toward revising our institutional outcomes. In a project taken on by our institute-wide committee responsible for maintaining our student learning outcomes process—the Commission on the Assessment of Student Outcomes (CASO)—we determined that adding a leadership outcome to our set of institutional outcomes would be a significant revision.

The decision to add leadership to the list was reinforced by the development of Rose-Hulman president’s Strategic Plan. This plan, designed to chart a course for the institution into the future,

Hanson, J., & Williams, J. (2009, June), Developing Students' Abilities In Technical Leadership: The Rose Hulman Leadership Academy Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5476

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