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Engineering Leadership Education - The Path Forward

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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

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.633.1 - 26.633.20



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Paper Authors


Richard J. Schuhmann The Landing School

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For two decades, Dr. Schuhmann has been affiliated with engineering leadership programs at the Pennsylvania State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He now serves as the President of the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design in Arundel, Maine.

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Andrew Michael Erdman Pennsylvania State University

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Andrew M. "Mike" Erdman received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State and his M.S. from USC. Erdman has also taken courses at RPI, Union, UCLA, UCSB, MIT, and Dartmouth. At Rocketdyne (Pratt & Whitney), he helped design the Space Shuttle. As manager of Reactor Safety Analysis, Experimental Engineering, and Fluid Dynamics Technology at KAPL (Lockheed Martin), he conducted research for Naval Reactors. He currently serves as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership and as an instructor in Engineering Science at Penn State.
Erdman has chaired the local Jaycees, Department of Social Services Advisory Council, GE Share Board, and Curling Club; and served on the Human Services Planning Council, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Capital Fund Drive Boards of Directors. Erdman has also lectured on leadership topics at Penn State and RPI. He returned to campus frequently as a recruiter (25 years) for GE and Lockheed Martin, serving on the Penn State College of Engineering Advisory Council, helped establish an Alumni Advisory Board, and currently serves as the President of the College of Engineering Alumni Society. Affiliations include the Penn State Alumni Association, Centre County Chapter Board of Directors, President’s Club, Nittany Lion Club, ASEE, ASME, AIAA, AKC, GRCA. He has been honored with a LMC/KAPL Leadership Award, GE Phillippe Award, PSEAS Outstanding service award, Jaycee International Senatorship, and an ESM Centennial Fellowship.

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Jack V. Matson Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Emeritus Professor of Environmental Engineering, Founding Director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, and initiator of ELDM.

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Dean H. Lang Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Lang is currently the Associate Director of the Engineering Leadership Research Program at Penn State University. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Kinesiology with a focus on Biomechanics from Penn State University. Dr. Lang's previous professional experiences and research interests range from mechanical engineering facilities design to research that applied engineering and molecular biology approaches to the study of the skeletal response to mechanical loading. As a Mechanical Engineer, she worked on facility design projects involving mechanical systems that included heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and energy conservation systems, as well as R&D of air conditioning equipment for Navy ships. Additional research interests include the investigation of relationships among components of the indoor environment, occupants, and energy usage. Specifically, the effects of the indoor environment on occupant health and well-being and in parallel, how socially-mediated energy-saving strategies can increase awareness of energy use and/or increase energy saving behaviors.

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Jeffrey G. Soper Montreux School of Business

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Donald H. Horner Jr. Jacksonville University

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“Engineering Leadership Education – The Path Forward” A.M. Erdman, D. H. Horner, J.V. Matson, R.J. Schuhmann Abstract for the 2015 ASEE Annual Meeting Leadership Division 10/8/14The Engineering Leadership Development Program at The Pennsylvania State University was one of thepioneering university-level leadership development programs in the world. Founded in 1995 as aninitiative of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, the program hasgraduated over 800 students with an 18 credit-hour minor in Engineering Leadership Development.A study done by Purdue University (Allert, ,2007) suggested that today’s engineering leader mustbe well-versed in three dimensions, namely technical, professional, and global skills. While the initialfocus of the Penn State program was to address professional skill development, over the past 10 years,global competency skill development has been incorporated as well (Schuhmann, 2010; Gordon, An international study performed by MIT (Ruth, 2009) noted that the program was one of fourcase studies of good practice to teach Engineering Leadership, particularly with a focus on creating thebroad, global engineering skill base needed in today’s engineering leaders. Further studies found thatincorporation of professional skill training actually enhanced technical performance in students.Anecdotally, we have found that the incorporation of global competency skills further energizesstudents, resulting in increased performance in both the technical and professional dimensions ofleadership.As the program approaches its 20th anniversary, retrospection, insight, and application of lessonslearned to formulating the future are appropriate. The past and current directors of the program havegathered together to create a joint perspective. This perspective is strongly influenced by extensivereviews of current student learning through pre/post course surveys (Hochstedt, 2013) and asurvey of graduates that assessed both the career impact of the program as well as views of thestrengths and areas where the program could be improved. Further, an Advisory Board, representingkey industrial partners, was tasked with reviewing new initiatives to assure that these were consistentwith the current needs of those who hire our graduates.This paper provides both a qualitative and quantitative review of the past performance and impact ofthis program on current students, graduates, and the companies who hire our graduates. The lessonslearned are used to both suggest future enhancements of this program, as well as to help guide thedevelopment of nascent or enhancement of existing programs at other universities.

Schuhmann, R. J., & Erdman, A. M., & Matson, J. V., & Lang, D. H., & Soper, J. G., & Horner, D. H. (2015, June), Engineering Leadership Education - The Path Forward Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23971

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