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Military Leadership for Engineers: A Comprehensive Look at Leadership from Army Doctrine to Engineering Coursework

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Designing and Implementing Leadership Development Experiences for Engineering Students

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

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Paper Authors


Brian J. Novoselich U.S. Military Academy

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Brian Novoselich is an active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel currently serving as an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy (West Point). He earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech in 2016. He holds Master's and Bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and West Point respectively. His research interests include capstone design teaching and assessment, undergraduate engineering student leadership development, and social network analysis. He is also a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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Russell P. Lemler U.S. Military Academy

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Lieutenant Colonel Russell P. Lemler, U.S. Army, is an assistant professor and Military Leadership program director in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point. He has held a variety of military and educational assignments, and completed a Ph.D. in management from Columbia Business School in 2013. His research interests include leader development, leadership education, and identity.

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Engineers and engineering educators realize that engineering is a team effort and leadership is inherent to a team’s success. Engineering project completion from ideation to implementation requires engineers to provide influence in an often-complicated group of multi-disciplinary professionals. In other words, leading is inherent to success as an engineer. ABET recognizes this reality with student outcome number five where students must demonstrate, “an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.” Because engineering has traditionally not been considered a leadership profession, many engineers and engineering educators may be unfamiliar with, or even adverse to leadership principles and processes. One profession that may be a resource for leadership principles and insight is the Profession of Arms, and more specifically, the U.S. Army. Officers and soldiers are often referred to as leaders and as an organization, the Army maintains a high degree of public confidence. Unfortunately, less than one percent of the U.S. population serves in the military and recently, there are concerns that the Army is becoming a family business; many of those serving come from families with a record of service. As a result, engineers and engineering educators may be unfamiliar with or misperceive the principles of leadership within the Army because 1) they have no affiliation with the Army or 2) they have gained a perception of military leadership through what they see in Hollywood. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of Army leadership through the lens of the BLIND FOR REVIEW. Leadership principles, education, and training are reviewed from guiding doctrinal principles through an institution-level leader development system, and into specific coursework that focuses on leader development. Finally, the paper situates these leadership principles in the capstone design experiences of students; a venue within undergraduate engineering education where leadership is often addressed. The goal of this paper is to make more explicit how leadership works within the Army and BLIND FOR REVIEW, to give engineering educators additional tools and models that they may consider in developing leadership development processes within their own institution.

Novoselich, B. J., & Lemler, R. P. (2020, June), Military Leadership for Engineers: A Comprehensive Look at Leadership from Army Doctrine to Engineering Coursework Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34972

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