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Leading Through Difficult Conversations: Developing Students' Leadership Communication Skills

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Communication, Professional Development, and the Engineering Ambassador Network

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

4

Page Numbers

23.848.1 - 23.848.4

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19862

Download Count

37

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Paper Authors

biography

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 & Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the impact of pen-based technologies on learning and teaching. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transaction on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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Abstract

Leading through Difficult Conversations:  Developing Students’ Leadership  Communication Skills Across the Curriculum    The need for engineers to take leadership roles is a frequent topic in documents that discuss how to improve the future of engineering in the US.  These leadership roles are diverse, everything from getting more engineers into public office to encouraging engineers who are successful in their technical fields to aspire to leadership in national organizations (such as ASEE).  The problem remains, however, that engineers in general may feel less prepared to follow these career directions because of their lack of confidence in their leadership communication abilities.    The solution, we are told, is that students should develop leadership skills, take leadership courses while still in college, and/or assume leadership roles in co‐curricular activities.  Taking a “leadership across the curriculum” approach, however, could provide students with opportunities to develop their skills without adding additional courses or co‐curricular activities that may conflict with work or family responsibilities.  In particular, leadership communication—practiced in communication courses, in capstone design projects, or in other courses already in the curriculum—can provide students with an important foundation that can provide significant benefits throughout their careers.  The focus of this presentation is on leadership communication through “difficult conversations,” a term developed by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen in their book Difficult Conversations:  How to Discuss What Matters Most.  In this presentation, the attendees will learn the principles that can help engineering students negotiate through difficult conversations, resulting in better listening and communication.  The presenter will also give examples of how the principles can be integrated into existing courses, with sample assignments and assessment rubrics that can make evaluation more manageable and sustainable.   

Williams, J. M. (2013, June), Leading Through Difficult Conversations: Developing Students' Leadership Communication Skills Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19862

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