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Engineering Leadership: Faculty Perceptions and Profiles

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment of Engineering Leadership Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


William J. Schell IV P.E. Montana State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. William J. Schell holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering – Engineering Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial and Management Engineering from Montana State University (MSU). He is an Assistant Professor in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at MSU with research interests in engineering education and the role of leadership and culture in process improvement and serves as an Associate Editor for both the Engineering Management Journal and Quality Approaches in Higher Education. Prior to his academic career, he spent 14 years in industry where he held leadership positions focused on process improvement and organizational development.

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Paul J. Kauffmann P.E. East Carolina University

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Paul J. Kauffmann is Professor Emeritus and past Chair in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. His twenty year industry career included positions as Plant Manager and Engineering Director. Dr. Kauffmann received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and MENG in Mechanical
Engineering from Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Penn State and is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia and North Carolina.

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This work augments our understanding of faculty perceptions of engineering leadership and its place in engineering curricula. As evident by the scholarly activity, development of a new division within ASEE, and attendance at the sessions for that division, engineering leadership is an area of increasing interest among the engineering education community. However, discussions at a 2015 conference panel appeared to show that this interest is not uniform across all members of the professorate. Based on observations in this session and others, there appears to be a relationship between the faculty member’s level of professional experience from outside the academy and his or her degree of commitment to the importance of including engineering leadership in the curriculum. Whether this experience was in a military or industrial setting, it appears to heighten the perceived need for engineering educators to provide methods to develop engineering leadership skills within their undergraduate students.

This study investigates this apparent split using two sources of information: the background of authors publishing in recent engineering leadership literature and a national survey of engineering educators. The first source involves analysis of information on authors actively publishing in engineering leadership. Using this information, the paper identifies biographical information common to those who appear to be most engaged in the topic and compares it to existing national faculty profiles. These findings are augmented through national survey of engineering faculty. The survey investigated faculty perceptions on the importance of engineering leadership development and the manner faculty think these materials should be incorporated in engineering curricula. These perceptions are investigated with respect to participant’s backgrounds and experiences outside the academy. This work will be of interest to both faculty building commitment for and materials supporting integration of engineering leadership in the curriculum and the engineering leadership profession.

Schell, W. J., & Kauffmann, P. J. (2016, June), Engineering Leadership: Faculty Perceptions and Profiles Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26653

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