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Migration From A Leadership Honors Program To An Engineering Leadership Minor

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Liberal Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1068.1 - 12.1068.11



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Paper Authors


Gregory Tonkay Lehigh University

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Gregory L. Tonkay, Ph.D. is an associate professor and associate chairperson of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Lehigh University. He is also the director of the ISELP and the Electronics Manufacturing Laboratory. Tonkay has been actively involved in curriculum development for the college’s common freshman year and the department’s degree programs and minors.

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E. Zimmers Lehigh University

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Emory W.Zimmers Jr. Ph.D is professor of Industrial Systems Engineering and Director of Enterprise Systems Center at Lehigh University. Zimmers has been responsible for more than 200 funded research and technology projects with over 115 industry and academic partners. He has co-authored one text and over 180 technical reports and publictaions. He is a fellow of SME and IIE technical societies.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Migration from a Leadership Honors Program to an Engineering Leadership Minor Abstract

This paper presents a new Engineering Leadership Minor developed for all engineering majors at Lehigh University. This minor program utilizes the experience of engineering faculty, liberal arts faculty, and alumni who have achieved positions of leadership. The evolution from an existing leadership honors program in a specific major (Information and Systems Engineering (I&SE)) to a more general leadership minor is discussed. The original program was limited to students in the I&SE major with a high GPA and was taught in a one-credit seminar format. The curriculum involved both leadership aspects and major-related projects in a hands-on environment. The new program is broader in scope, including courses from arts and humanities and engineering, and is open to all engineers. It includes application of leadership principles through team-based projects at local companies and provides better economy of scale for faculty. At the same time, it provides many more students with an opportunity for leadership training.

Leadership Honors Program

The Information and Systems Engineering Leadership Program (ISELP)1 was an honors program developed for students in the Information and Systems Engineering degree program. The motivation for the program came from alumni in leadership positions advocating that a formal leadership program would provide theory and practice in leadership and better prepare students for leadership roles in their careers. ISELP was developed at the same time as the I&SE degree with the intention of attracting highly qualified students to the university and providing them with a broader education than the typical engineering student. ISELP began in 2002 and is presently being phased out as students in the program graduate. Students were accepted into the program at two different times: prior to freshman year or at the beginning of sophomore year. Since Lehigh University has a common freshman year, students entering at the beginning of freshman year could not register for specific leadership courses. Instead, they attended an evening workshop each semester about basic leadership skills and program requirements and were invited to participate in other extracurricular activities.

During the sophomore, junior, and senior years, students registered for a one-credit seminar course. Because it was an honors program, these seminars were above the normal load and did not count towards the I&SE degree. In addition the students attended evening workshops and participated in other aspects of the program1. Other key features of ISELP included:

• Instruction in leadership theory and leadership skill development. ISELP students begin learning about foundational leadership theories and developing specific skills as first year students. A series of workshops are conducted throughout the program. Examples of workshop topics include leadership styles, leadership skills assessments, effective communication and problem solving skills. Students practice their leadership skills by assisting with workshops offered to new students who join the program. • Use of leadership assessment tools. ISELP students learn to assess leadership styles using various assessment tools. They first assess their own leadership practices as well as

Tonkay, G., & Zimmers, E. (2007, June), Migration From A Leadership Honors Program To An Engineering Leadership Minor Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2730

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015