New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering Leadership Development Division
The mission of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is to provide access and excellence in higher education to underserved student populations. An innovative educational experience was created for a group of students from the Engineering Education and Leadership (E-LEAD) Department to help further UTEP’s mission. These students are pursuing a Bachelor of Science that seeks to accelerate the development of students as leaders with innovating mindsets, engineering problem solving skills, and business acumen. All students pursuing this degree are required to complete two for-credit professional practice experiences. Thus, an internship was tailored to give a group of students the opportunity to practice and develop the skills they are gaining outside of the traditional classroom setting. The educational experience created was a leadership internship to support the Higher Opportunities Thrive (H.O.T.) Conference hosted at UTEP. The conference’s primary goal is to expose middle and high school students living in public housing to higher education. The role of the E-LEAD undergraduates in the conference was to add engineering workshops to the conference curriculum. During the spring 2015 semester, four sophomore E-LEAD students were recruited for the internship – two to prepare and implement workshops for middle school students and the other two for high school students. The E-LEAD students received training based on the engineering design process, mirroring its steps during the developing and teaching of the workshops. This training included presentations on: STEM related fields of study, how innovation is driven by diversity, and how to motivate low-income students to study different fields of engineering. The E-LEAD students were provided with minimal required material for each workshop and were given the freedom to choose the focus and content of the workshops. They presented the activities and workshops to the supervising graduate student (observer). Since the design of the conference was such that the same set of workshops were given during each week of the 4-week conference, the E-LEAD students were encouraged to continue innovating their workshops for each week of the conference. The observer using a mixed method analysis to measure the application and development of engineering and leaderships skills gained in the classroom. The students completed a Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) self-assessment before and after their internship. The LPI is based on 30 statements using a rarely-to-very-frequently 5-point scale (http://www.studentleadershipchallenge.com/Assessments.aspx). The observer evaluated the participants using the same method. The five leadership attributes assessed were Model (the Way), Inspire (a Shared Vision), Challenge (the Process), Enable (Others to Act), and Encourage (the Heart). A pre- and post-leadership experience interview was also conducted. At the end of every week, the participants were interviewed and completed a Likert scale survey to evaluate their personal and team leadership performance. The LPI showed that participants had a measured leadership appreciation which improved from 3.4 to 3.9 points in average score. Whereas the observer qualified their apparent leadership to improve from 2.1 to 4.4 points. The attributes with the greater improvements were Model, Inspire, and Challenge. Particularly, participants prominently improved their encouragement skills. Only the Challenge attribute displayed divergent improvements.
Ruiz Mendoza, L., & Orea-Amador, L., & Kendall, M. R. (2016, June), Mixed Method Study of the Evolution of Leadership Traits during a Leadership Experience Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25731
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