June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Community Engagement Division
23.504.1 - 23.504.13
Engineering Design, Project Management, and Community Service Connected Through Servant LeadershipAbstractServant-Leadership is a leadership that emphasizes power sharing in decision making processes.It encourages leaders to serve those they manage by propelling them toward high achievementwhile promoting their professional growth and self-efficacy. Servant-Leadership is also beingpioneered as a teaching pedagogy at University X, which is unique because most academicinstitutions subscribe to the service learning model. In conventional academic settings,instructors are the authority figures with control over content, knowledge, assessment, andcourse outcomes. By contrast, Servant-Leadership places instructors at the bottom of an invertedpower pyramid where they provide a supportive foundation for the students above them.The authors hypothesize that this supportive structure lends itself ideally to faculty mentorship ofengineering design-and-build projects; for example capstone senior design projects. In well-managed student projects, faculty members do none of the actual design or construction work.Instead, they mentor a team of students toward successful completion of the challenge.To evaluate the impact of a Servant-Leadership teaching pedagogy, a collaborativeinterdisciplinary program was implemented that combined three components: 1) a curriculum-integrated design-and-build project; 2) an industrial engineering project management course; and3) sponsored service to the community. Service is particularly attractive to current college-agepeople; so, projects serving the community are highly valued in promoting student recruiting.One project, representative of the overall program, is reported here. Within a one facultymember’s quarter-long senior-level mechanical engineering thermodynamics course, studentsdesigned, built, tested, and deployed three miniature aquaponic demonstration units for theSweet Water Foundation (SWF), a Milwaukee-based non-profit organization. The SWF missionis to teach the public about sustainable urban agriculture. The project’s mechanical engineering(ME) students were supported by students taking an industrial engineering (IE) projectmanagement course from a different faculty member. IE students served as project managers.Simultaneously, a third faculty member, expert in implementing Servant-Leadership as ateaching pedagogy, secured project funding from the Brady Foundation while guiding the courseinstructors in mentoring students as Servant-Leaders.We report both qualitative and quantitative results from this interdisciplinary project guided byServant-Leadership. Individual faculty members report best practices learned by mentoring theME and IE students respectively through successful project completion using a Servant-Leadership teaching pedagogy. We also present and analyze data compiled from IE and MEstudent participants in the broader program to quantify the positive impact on our institution’sculture enabled through community service and faculty mentoring projects using the Servant-Leadership pedagogy.
Traum, M. J., & Howell, D. A., & Newman, L. C. (2013, June), Engineering Design, Project Management, and Community Service Connected Through Servant Leadership Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19518
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