June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Engineering Leadership Development Division
23.847.1 - 23.847.21
Leadership development in tight times: Scaling up courses without watering them down The proposed paper addresses a serious challenge that many universities face – particularly large public universities: How can we meet increasing demands for undergraduate leadership development during a time of dwindling resources? One approach to be presented in the proposed paper lies in pursuing innovative approaches to engineering education and leadership development through rethinking instructional models and curricular design. The paper will provide a developmental framework, preliminary assessment results, lessons learned, and guidelines for how our approach can be adapted at other institutions. Our educational research supports the recommendations of NAE 2020 that student learning is enhanced by smaller class sizes, more direct contact with instructors, and active engagement in real world projects. Students benefit from early and ongoing engagement in development opportunities throughout their college career – ideally starting the first day they arrive on campus as a freshman. Despite this knowledge, we struggle to find a feasible path to meet these recommendations. Our alumni and industry partners consistently tell us we need to graduate students with more leadership experience – yet we find ourselves at a confluence of conflicting factors that make it difficult to respond accordingly. Administrators embrace the need to update and expand our curriculum to remain current and relevant, yet there is no room to add anything in an already tightly packed four-‐year degree program. So, what do we do? The paper will present a detailed framework for how a freshman Engineering Leadership course grew from concept to successful implementation poised for continued growth in future years. We will provide rationale for the course’s instructional model and pedagogical foundation that serve as the basis for the development, implementation, and evaluation process. The resulting student work, course evaluations, and instructor observations from the first two offerings of the course provide preliminary results that show we met the primary course objectives for students to understand and demonstrate their knowledge of: 1. The leadership role that engineering professionals can play in service to a breadth of social, political, environmental, economic, and global issues, 2. Their personal vision for professional futures and the spectrum of career opportunities available to fit their vision, 3. How their strengths, leadership potential, and development needs can help them achieve their personal vision, 4. How to comfortably and professionally communicate directly with peers, practicing engineers and adult professionals, 5. Skills, tools, and insights to advance engineering ideas from concept to action. We will present data on student satisfaction and learning gains that show high levels of student engagement, relevance to their ongoing development, and successful implementation of group service-‐learning projects. The paper will conclude by outlining an approach that can be adapted by other institutions. Included in our recommendations will be considerations for the types of institutional support and partnerships required to move from a needs assessment toward pilot course development, all the way through to implementation, evaluation, and considerations for future expansion to meet increasing needs. Readers will learn an approach that enables faculty to remain true to the pedagogical benefits of a small-‐class feel as they scale-‐up a class structure to accommodate increasing enrollments without breaking their budget.
Carlson-Dakes, C., & Harrington, G. W. (2013, June), Leadership Development in Tight Times: Scaling up courses without watering them down Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19861
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