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Educating Manufacturing Leaders: Creating an Industrial Culture for a Sustainable Future

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Design Education II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.522.1 - 22.522.12



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Paper Authors


Ronald J. Bennett Univeristy of Saint Thomas

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Ronald J. Bennett, Ph.D., is Honeywell Fellow in Global Technology Management in the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas after having served as the Founding Dean. He holds a Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering and an MBA. With a background of more than 20 years in industry, Bennett teaches and publishes on diverse topics including materials engineering, technical innovation, technology transfer, leadership and engineering education. He is an EAC of ABET commissioner for SME.

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Elaine R. Millam Univeristy of Saint Thomas

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Dr. Elaine Millam is a senior consultant, coach and educator. She has worked over 30 years as a leader in public, private, and non-profit sectors; most recently as the head of Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Effectiveness at Honeywell, International. She has earned graduate degrees in Educational Psychology, Industrial Relations and Organizational Leadership. She is an author of several publications and two published books. Her specialty is developing leadership capacity to create high performing organizations. She focuses on styles and behaviors that fuel significant and sustainable change in leaders and organizations. She uses an integrated model that balances the inside-out and outside-in to developing leaders.

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EDUCATING MANUFACTURING LEADERS: CREATING AN INDUSTRIAL CULTURE FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTUREManufacturing is about processes, materials, systems and competitive strategy. It is alsoabout people, how they perform and how they are lead. This paper discusses a series ofcourses in leadership development in a graduate Manufacturing Systems Engineeringprogram for working adults. It contains results based on interviews with alumni thatdemonstrate the power of this process and the new competitive capabilities enjoyed by thecompanies at which these alumni are employed.At the ASEE annual conference in 2004, a paper was presented on the motivation for and thedesign of a series of courses that helped working adult graduate students assess theirleadership capacity and skills, discussed the nature of the course and reported the resultsobserved at that time. Six additional years of results have been observed and documented.Longitudinal research, focusing on interviews with alumni of the program, has beenconducted and show remarkable demonstrated growth in their leadership progress.Accelerated by intentional self reflection and the creation of lifelong learning roadmaps,these alumni are now living their plan, demonstrating their leadership, and stretchingthemselves to develop others. We had some hunches about overall outcomes, and planned tocontinue to monitor individual and collective outcomes as the students moved forward intheir learning pursuits. We proposed documenting the students’ stories of real-time learningand leading to help everyone know just how this process will affect life-long results. Wehave done just that.At the time of the initial survey, students were excited about their learning pursuits, engagingothers to support them and beginning to demonstrate their leadership talents as they learned,stretched and grew. They were feeling real strength and power in coming to betterunderstand themselves and taking charge of their own learning outcomes. With an additionalsix years experience, the power of this approach in releasing the leaders within is becomingmuch more clear and compelling. Alumni of this program are now convinced that this coursehas had a profound effect on the way they view the world as an interconnected system, ontheir role to lead and make a difference, and as a result has changed the way they think.During the past year the authors have also conducted surveys of engineering school deans todetermine their views on the need for leadership education for engineers, and on their currentcapacity to deliver this kind of education. While only 25% of the schools responding saidthey offered leadership education for their graduate students, fully 100% felt leadershipeducation for engineers was important. This paper will provide additional evidence of thesuccess of the approach taken, and the need to expand to other adult practicing engineers tobecome leaders, and show a proven process for delivering graduate leadership education toengineers. 456 words

Bennett, R. J., & Millam, E. R. (2011, June), Educating Manufacturing Leaders: Creating an Industrial Culture for a Sustainable Future Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17803

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