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'I Survived the Crisis!' - Using Real World Scenarios to Teach Crisis Leadership Skills to Undergraduate Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Engineering Leadership

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Eva Andrijcic Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Eva Andrijcic serves as an Assistant Professor of Engineering Management at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Systems and Information Engineering from University of Virginia, where she worked at the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems. She received a B.S. in mathematics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Her major interests are in the areas of risk analysis and management, critical infrastructure management and protection, interdisciplinary engineering education, and risk education.

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Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment and Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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This paper will present the “Crisis Simulation,” an extracurricular activity developed by the Leadership Education and Development Program (LEAD) at a small undergraduate engineering college. The goal of the activity is to expose engineering students to the types of leadership roles that they might have to assume, or might be exposed to, in an unplanned crisis event. Exposed to an unfamiliar crisis situation in an environment which is meant to simulate realistic conditions, student teams are led by volunteer faculty and staff through an intense two hour experience in which they assume roles of leadership in a community, business or an organization. There are several major learning objectives of this simulation: i) students are introduced to different leadership styles and forced to discover that many of the leadership assumptions that hold true in business-as-usual situations are violated in a crisis; ii) students learn how to utilize and allocate limited resources and make necessary trade-offs; iii) students are exposed to situations in which they have to question the ethical implications of their decisions and determine what risks are acceptable and tolerable. Through a post-simulation reflection activity led by volunteer faculty and staff, as well as the local Emergency Services personnel, students are asked to relate their simulation leadership experiences to more domain-specific problems that they might encounter in their future careers. This paper will present three simulation scenarios that the group has tested and will share the experiences encountered by participating students as well as the faculty and staff organizers.

Andrijcic, E., & Williams, J. M. (2016, June), 'I Survived the Crisis!' - Using Real World Scenarios to Teach Crisis Leadership Skills to Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26220

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