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Learning Expectations and Outcomes for an Engineering Leadership Principles Class

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Development Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.851.1 - 23.851.17



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Paper Authors


Kirsten S. Hochstedt Penn State University

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Kirsten S. Hochstedt is a graduate assistant at the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education. She received her M.S. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Educational and Psychological Measurement at Penn State University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the same program. The primary focus of her research concerns assessing the response structure of test scores using item response theory methodology.

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Andrew Michael Erdman Pennsylvania State University

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Andrew Michael "Mike" Erdman received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State and his M.S. from USC. Erdman has also taken courses at RPI, Union, UCLA, UCSB, MIT, and Dartmouth. At Rocketdyne (Pratt & Whitney), he helped design the Space Shuttle. As manager of Reactor Safety Analysis, Experimental Engineering, and Fluid Dynamics Technology at KAPL (Lockheed Martin), he conducted research for Naval Reactors. He currently serves as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership and as an instructor in Engineering Science at Penn State.
Erdman was a member of Psi Eta Sigma and Τau Beta Pi and held leadership positions in the InterFraternity Council, Theta Delta Chi, and Parmi Nous. After graduation he chaired the local Jaycees, Department of Social Services Advisory Council, GE Share Board, and Curling Club; and served on the Human Services Planning Council, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Capital Fund Drive Boards of Directors. Erdman has also lectured on leadership topics at Penn State and RPI. He returned to campus frequently as a recruiter (25 years) for GE and Lockheed Martin, serving on the Penn State College of Engineering Advisory Council (former chair of the Engineering Science & Mechanics council), helped establish an Alumni Advisory Board, and currently serves as the Vice President of the College of Engineering Alumni Society. Affiliations include the Penn State Alumni Association, Centre County Chapter Board of Directors, President’s Club, Nittany Lion Club, ASEE, ASME, AIAA, AKC, GRCA. He has been honored with a LMC/KAPL Leadership Award, GE Phillippe Award, PSEAS Outstanding service award, Jaycee International Senatorship, and an ESM Centennial Fellowship.
Mike Erdman and his wife, Donna, operate Nicker Barker Farm where they raise Golden Retrievers.

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Richard John Schuhmann Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program

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Dr. Rick Schuhmann is a senior lecturer/Short Subject program manager in the Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program and teaches and supervises research in civil and environmental engineering. Dr. Schuhmann joined MIT in September 2012 after fifteen years at Penn State University where he was a member of the civil engineering faculty and served as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership. Dr. Schuhmann teaches classes in engineering project management, leadership, and entrepreneurship. He is active in both local and international water resource engineering projects, and in supporting U.S. State Department efforts to promote innovative engineering enterprise development in North Africa.

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Learning Expectations and Outcomes for an Engineering Leadership Principles ClassAbstractMany institutions have advisory groups who offer advice on curricular issues, such as academicobjectives and industry needs. However, students’ educational expectations are often absent fromthis definition process. Course objectives in place today depend in large part upon the worldviewof those teaching. Therefore, course-specific facets related to engineering leadership (e.g.,innovation in product design and managing complex systems) require course-specific assessmentto determine efficacy. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into student leadershiplearning expectations and measured performance. This study addresses these issues by recordingstudent expectations for an engineering leadership principles class. The study then places theseexpectations within the perspective of the defined curriculum outcomes. This investigation isparticularly important given the complexity of developing an understanding of leadershipprinciples applied in an engineering context.Data were collected in a large public university’s introductory engineering leadership class.Across three academic semesters, a total of 90 students took both the pre-course and post-courseleadership principles survey. The goal of this survey was to understand how students acquirecharacteristics related to leadership. Additionally, a student expectations assessment, wherebystudents were asked what three different leadership attributes they would like to develop, wascollected from the same student class cohorts. The three attributes they listed were analyzedusing content analysis principles, which yielded 13 categories (e.g., vision/forward-thinking).The results from the leadership principles survey and student expectations assessment werelinked by matching the five most frequently listed student-reported expectation attributes to thecontent of the leadership principles survey items. These two assessments were linked in order toevaluate the efficacy of the student leadership principles course as well as compare measuredoutcomes with respect to student-reported expectations. The five most frequently listed student-reported expectation attributes were: 1) confidence, 2) communication ability, 3) trust in teammembers, 4) ability to inspire-motivate, and 5) ability to exercise sound judgment. The averagestudent responses on the learning principles survey from pre-course to post-course for all fivestudent-identified learning expectations shifted in the anticipated direction of response, whichindicates the class positively changed students’ reported leadership principles efficacy. There is astrong relationship between student-identified learning expectations and improved understandingof the related leadership principles.

Hochstedt, K. S., & Erdman, A. M., & Schuhmann, R. J. (2013, June), Learning Expectations and Outcomes for an Engineering Leadership Principles Class Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19865

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