June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Engineering Leadership Development Division
26.906.1 - 26.906.12
Implementation of an Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum to Prepare 21st Century LeadersWe have created a three-year leadership curriculum for undergraduate students enrolled in thecollege of engineering at a medium-sized, private, urban, religiously-affiliated university. Theobjectives of this people-focused, technical leadership program are to: (1) develop engineers whoare able to address 21st century global challenges; (2) prepare individuals to lead, not onlythrough innovation and technical expertise, but also through their ability to motivate, engage andguide people and organizations who represent the full range of diversity across the humanspectrum; and (3) educate and develop the leadership and character of outstanding engineeringstudents, who are able to lead technical teams in solving problems. In this paper, we presentcurriculum design, early results and recommendations from first year assessment of the programand plans for future programmatic elements and assessment.Students are accepted into the leadership program during sophomore year. The curriculum isdesigned to follow an intentional sequence of experiences that meet students’ developmentalreadiness and needs over the three years in the program. In each year, the student cohorts exploreone of three themes of the program (leading oneself, leading with others, or leading technologyand innovation) through a combination of three formal leadership courses, a variety ofexperiential learning opportunities, and the completion of a capstone project. Upon completionof the program, students will have a “Concentration in Engineering Leadership” noted on theirtranscript.Formal coursework is designed specifically for undergraduate engineering students. The coursesexplore topics including: self-awareness and emotional intelligence, leadership styles andtheories, servant leadership, team dynamics, motivating and guiding others, diversity in theworkplace (cultural, gender, etc.), communication, conflict management, ethical leadership,leading change, leading technology and innovation, market analysis, product development,entrepreneurship, and strategic and financial planning.A variety of assessment methods were employed in the first year. A pre- and post-test leadershipinventory was administered to students to during the first course. Results of this qualitativeassessment were analyzed using a rubric developed to measure growth in perceptions andattitudes. In addition, students wrote reflection papers about practical leadership experiencesduring their industry internships, using the guiding principles and themes of the program toillustrate what they learned. Students also synthesized their observations of industry leaders aftershadowing each of two C-Level leaders.Early results from assessments conducted after the first year in the program indicate students aredeveloping significant self-awareness, building life-long skills and habits that will serve themwell as they assume greater leadership responsibility. Early results also indicate the necessity ofcreating challenging experiences for students to critically examine their personal leadershipcapacity, skills, values, and awareness in order to foster growth and development. Observing andreflecting on others’ leadership practice is also a valuable process for building awareness ofone’s own leadership capacity and efficacy.
Trevey, K. A., & Gorman, A. L., & Ropella, K. M. (2015, June), Implementation of an Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum to Prepare 21st Century Leaders Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24243
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