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Meaning and Impact: A Review of Personal Leadership Portfolios

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Continuous Improvement in Engineering Leadership Development Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

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Paper Authors


Seth Claberon Sullivan Texas A&M University

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Seth Sullivan is the Director of the Zachry Leadership Program in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the university, he worked in consulting in the private sector and as an analyst in the U.S. Government. He’s earned master’s degrees in business administration and international affairs and a bachelor's of science in industrial distribution.

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Beth Koufteros Texas A&M University

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Beth Koufteros is the Assistant Director of the Zachry Leadership program at Texas A&M University. She assists with the administration of the program as well as team-teaching five courses. Prioring to joining the College of Engineering, she spent many years teaching courses related to leadership in the business school. She is a professional meeting facilitator for CEO and Senior Executive groups and has served as an external consultant on change management.

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In this paper we report our findings from examining 28 personal leadership portfolios, written by senior engineering students at the conclusion of a five-semester certificate program, to determine which activities or experiences were most meaningful to the students’ development and what themes emerge in student descriptions of the program’s impact. This paper adds to the community’s body of knowledge on the types of leadership development experiences deemed most impactful to students, as well as on the use of portfolios as an assessment method.

In spring 2018, each student in the Zachry Leadership Program in Texas A&M’s college of engineering created a personal leadership portfolio describing which experiences or activities in the program were most meaningful to them and how the program impacted their leadership development. In this study, we review the portfolio text using Hay’s iterative coding process [1] to identify and quantify common themes. This process provides insight into which elements of our program are most impactful and why this is so, and suggests that analyzing portfolios can help us better understand how the program is impacting student leadership development by surfacing common experiences and perspectives.

Sullivan, S. C., & Koufteros, B. (2019, June), Meaning and Impact: A Review of Personal Leadership Portfolios Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33088

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