Asee peer logo

Engineering Leadership: A New Engineering Discipline

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Innovation in Engineering Leadership Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.635.1 - 26.635.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Roger V. Gonzalez P.E. University of Texas, El Paso

visit author page

Roger V. Gonzalez, Ph.D., P.E., is the Director of the Leadership Engineering program for the College of Engineering and Professor and Chair of Engineering Education and Leadership. Dr. Gonzalez earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 from UTEP. He earned his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow and the premier Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Medical School. Professor Gonzalez has been recognized for scholarly work, education innovation and socio-entrepreneurial humanitarian efforts. He is known and respected for actively incorporating students into all three of these areas.

Among many highlights of his scholarly work, he was awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award for his work in neuromuscular control and musculoskeletal biomechanics on children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Gonzalez’s scholarly work includes over 100 publications in journals and conference proceedings many of which are co-authored with his students.

For his efforts and innovation in engineering education Dr. Gonzalez has received the American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) Teaching Award, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Award, and LeTourneau University’s top research and scholarship award. He was also a Finalist for the IEEE Global Humanitarian Engineer of the Year award in 2013. He serves as an engineering program evaluator for the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the sole entity for accrediting engineering programs in the United States.

Dr. Gonzalez is Founder and President of LIMBS International (, a 501(c)3 non-profit humanitarian organization that designs, creates and deploys prosthetic devices to transform the lives of amputees in the developing world by restoring their ability to walk. Since its founding in 2004, the LIMBS Knee has helped over one thousand amputees in almost 35 countries on four continents.

visit author page


Richard T. Schoephoerster University of Texas, El Paso

visit author page

Since 2007 Dr. Schoephoerster has been the Dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso where he leads a College of approximately 85 faculty members, 55 staff members, and 3500 students in 28 different BS, MS, and PhD degree programs. In the past seven years the total number of graduates per year has increased by 40%, and the number of annual doctoral graduates and annual research expenditures has almost quadrupled. During his tenure, UTEP has become one of the largest producers of Hispanic engineers at all levels (BS, MS, and PhD), and UTEP Engineering recently had the largest percentage of female engineering graduates at the doctoral level. For nine years running, UTEP has been listed in the top five engineering graduate schools for Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.

visit author page


Jessica Townsend Olin College of Engineering

visit author page

Jessica Townsend is a passionate proponent of undergraduate engineering curriculum innovation and is dedicated to finding pathways to innovation in traditional educational settings. She is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Programs at Olin College. Since joining the Olin College faculty in 2004, Dr. Townsend has worked as a facilitator and consultant with universities and professional organizations looking to improve engineering student engagement, and has contributed to the development of innovative pedagogies, courses, and curricula at Olin College, mainly in the design and mechanical engineering areas. Her technical area of interest is experimental thermal-fluids and she worked for many years on the development and characterization of nanofluids (colloidal suspensions of nanoparticles), mainly for thermal management applications. She now focuses on projects that effectively engage undergraduates in thermal-fluid and propulsion related areas, including recent work on a hybrid solid rocket test stand. Dr. Townsend has industry experience in both air-breathing propulsion, as a gas turbine performance engineer at Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems, and in rocket propulsion, as a visiting engineer at Blue Origin, a commercial spaceflight company based in Seattle, WA.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Engineering Leadership: A New Engineering DisciplineThe XXX University, recognizing the growing emphasis on leadership development inengineering, has established a new engineering discipline called Engineering Leadership. XXXis leading the charge by offering the first Bachelor of Science in Engineering Leadership (E-Lead) degree in the country. The primary educational objective of the E-Lead degree is todevelop engineers into leaders with engineering domain knowledge, broad leadershipknowledge, and the ability to inspire and lead others. Graduates of the E-Lead program will notonly be leaders, but will perpetuate leadership traits in those they serve.But E-Lead goes well beyond being a program, an initiative, or a cluster of classes added to adegree plan. Through a collaboration with the YYY College of Engineering, the curriculumdesigned for E-Lead transforms the classroom experience by moving beyond content andfocusing on project application and the integration of the students’ skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios. Mentoring character and personal growth helps students reach a level ofpersonal and professional achievement. Emphasis is placed on leadership, innovation, business,with a required sub-disciplinary specialty; all encased in a pedagogical studio format, requiringstudents to work in highly collaborative groups and thus develop a vital sense of communityamong themselves and their professors. Since tomorrow’s leaders must also be highly groundedin knowledge and use of technology, the program is designed to fulfill ABET EAC’s generalcriteria for a B.S in Engineering.The E-Lead program also develops a culture where students actively contribute to their owneducation and where individual contributions are valued and important. E-Lead students strivefor excellence because they have a sense of ownership and power over their own education.Three main ideas have governed the development of the E-Lead Program. First, learning aboutand practicing leadership skills must be integrated into the engineering education studentsreceive. The first two years of the academic curriculum (E-Lead is currently in its second year)are designed to motivate the need for teaming and leadership skills within an engineeringcontext. We distinguish leadership as a cycle in which leaders develop leadership traits inthemselves as a result of character development and then go on to perpetuate leadership traits inthose they serve. At the core of E-Lead is the leadership development founded on thedevelopment of students’ character, competence and capacity.Second, the program must be designed with an eye towards the strengths and values that theXXX University student population brings to the table. There is no typical XXX Universityengineering student; the range of backgrounds is diverse which is a boon to the E-Lead program.Third, the program must include a substantial eco-system outside of the traditional academicconstraints to build relationships, develop teaming and leadership skills, and build a communityof scholars and student leaders.We will tell the story of the creation and development of the Engineering Leadership Programand will describe how the three main ideas above have impacted the curriculum and communitywithin E-Lead.

Gonzalez, R. V., & Schoephoerster, R. T., & Townsend, J. (2015, June), Engineering Leadership: A New Engineering Discipline Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23973

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015