Asee peer logo

Self-Awareness of Student Leaders in an Experiential Undergraduate Engineering Clinic Program

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Competency and Skill Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jessica Lupanow Harvey Mudd College Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Jessica Lupanow completed her B.S. in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College in May 2018, focusing on management and robotics. For her clinic projects, she worked on an autonomous trajectory-tracking controller for underwater robots and served as team leader for an autonomous operations project for construction vehicles. She was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and in August 2018 she will begin working on her Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Southern California.

visit author page


Donald S. Remer PhD, PE Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Donald S. Remer, PhD, PE, was the Oliver C. Field Professor of Engineering Economics and Management at Harvey Mudd College when this project was initiated. He has a B.S.E. from the University of Michigan and a MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business Economics from Caltech. He has been a Clinic Advisor on over 60 engineering clinic projects during his 42 years at Harvey Mudd. He is also the President of the Claremont Consulting Group, which does short course training, coaching, and consulting in the areas of business case analysis, cost estimation, and project management. His clients range from small entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, national R&D laboratories, and universities. He is also a registered professional engineer in California.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The Harvey Mudd College engineering clinic program created in 1963 seeks to educate engineering students by providing them real-world, hands-on experience working on an industry or government project. A team of students work with the sponsor to solve a designated problem, where teams are comprised of four to six junior and senior undergraduate members with one senior student acting as team leader. The team leader is responsible for supervising, budgeting, documenting, running meetings, and dealing with personnel problems. Teams and their faculty advisors often decide to have two team leaders throughout the year-long course of the project.

Because increased self-awareness makes a leader more effective, this study seeks to better understand the self-awareness of leaders in the program by looking at their perception of their leadership style compared to the style their team perceives them to be using. Surveying 29 leaders and their team members with a numerical ranking of six leadership styles adapted from the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Continuum of Leadership Behavior (1-tell, 2-sell, 3-test, 4-consult, 5-join, 6-delegate) revealed that 5 leaders saw themselves closer to the delegate-end of the continuum than their team saw them, 11 were closer to the tell-end, and 13 perceived themselves to be using the same style as the team perceived. This means that 55% of leaders surveyed were classified as “not self-aware.”

This lack of self-awareness of leadership styles aligns with the tendency for Harvey Mudd students to underestimate their own performance and indicates that the clinic program would benefit from additional leadership training for clinic team leaders. Based on the need established by these results, the clinic program is strengthening the management course offerings, beginning a mandatory leadership and management training course for junior team members, and providing monthly leadership training sessions to current team leaders.

Lupanow, J., & Remer, D. S. (2018, June), Self-Awareness of Student Leaders in an Experiential Undergraduate Engineering Clinic Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30956

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: © 2018 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