June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Engineering Leadership Development Division
23.1011.1 - 23.1011.12
A University’s Engineering Leadership Program Addressing the Shortfall of Engineering Leadership EducationThe interdependency of technical and socioeconomic problem solving has increased the need forengineers, inherent problem solvers, to improve the development of their “soft skills”; a pointremarkably made by David Bayless and T. Richard Robe of the Robe Leadership Institute atOhio University. Engineering leadership education should lie at the intersection of theoreticalconceptualization and practical implementation; an experiential education in other words. Yet forthe most part, engineering students are not exposed to formal studies in leadership. Satisfyingthe societal demand of engineering leadership education is commonly limited to introductory-level coursework in technical communication in most engineering curricula. In recognition ofthis problem, several institutions have developed engineering leadership minors or certificateprograms that focus on developing engineering students within a larger context of beneficialleadership skill sets.A lingering issue arises from that fact that the knowledge explosion in recent years has not led toa substantial reorganization of material but to an increase in the number of courses in acurriculum within the same amount of time. An engineering leadership program would demandstudents taking additional courses or partaking in professional experiences that may overload thecurriculum and delay graduation. For this reason, most engineering curricula focus on producingtechnical excellence[1,2].The purpose of this paper is to revisit the state of engineering leadership education in academiaand to introduce a College of Engineering’s recently endorsed Engineering Leadership Minor. Apotential model to address the shortfall of experiential engineering leadership education withintraditional engineering curricula, this minor, which is one element of a larger engineeringleadership program, will involve the use of coursework, discussions, one-on-one mentoring bydistinguished leaders, guest speakers, and job-shadowing to provide engineering students withunderstanding and experience applying engineering leadership principles, practices, and tools ina multicultural context. This model will reinforce the educational process by encouragingstudents to mentor younger students after their first year in the program and by allowing studentsto facilitate their engineering leadership training. Students will supplement the required sevencredits in engineering leadership core courses with nine credits in elective courses in areas suchas communication, global society and context, creativity and innovation, and ethics.Unlike many programs that engage engineering students in activities during their junior or senioryears,[3,4,6] this engineering leadership program will target first-year engineering students withconsideration given to sophomores and graduate students on a case-by-case basis. Such a focuswill minimize the burden on the engineering curriculum and will ensure thorough leadershiptraining for enrolled students. The focus on first-year students also allows for utilization of theentire duration of students’ time in school to distribute the engineering leadership course loadand professional requirements in a manner that complements their engineering curriculum.Authors anticipate that the proposed program will provide success stories about theimplementation of leadership development through coursework, guest speakers, and mentorshipwhile recognizing the value of exposing engineering students to leadership early in their collegecareers.References: Bayless, D. J., & Robe, T. R. (2010). Leadership Education for Engineering Students. Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2010 IEEE, (pp. S2J-1 - S2J-6). National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. The National Academies Press, p. 50. Bernard M. Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program, School of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, URL: http://web.mit.edu/gordonelp/, 2012. Engineering Leadership Development Minor, School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, Pennsylvania State University, URL: http://www.eldm.psu.edu/, 2012 J., H. (2005). Engineering Education:Research and Development in Curriculum and Instruction (1 ed.). Wiley-IEEE Press. Burton, L. C., Soper, G. J., & Matson, J. V. (1996). Penn State's Engineering Leadership Development Minor. Proceedings of the 1996 26th Annual Conference on Frontiers in Education, FIE'96. Part 3 (of 3) (pp. 1129-1131). Salt Lake City, UT: IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, United States.
Osagiede, A., & Cox, M. F., & Ahn, B. (2013, June), Purdue University’s Engineering Leadership Program: Addressing the Shortfall of Engineering Leadership Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22396
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