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Sports, arts and concrete canoes: Engineers learning to lead outside the formal curriculum

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovation in Engineering Leadership Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

27

DOI

10.18260/p.25858

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25858

Download Count

154

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Paper Authors

biography

Cindy Rottmann University of Toronto

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Cindy Rottmann is a Research Associate at the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include engineering leadership, engineering ethics education, critical theory, teacher leadership and social justice teacher unionism.

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Robin Sacks University of Toronto

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Dr. Sacks is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto teaching leadership and positive psychology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Robin also serves as the Director of Research for the Engineering Leadership Project at the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering which aims to identify how engineers lead in the workplace.

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Mike Klassen Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering, University of Toronto

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Mike Klassen is the Leadership Programming Consultant at the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) at the University of Toronto. He designs and facilitates leadership programs for engineering students - with a range of focus from tangible skill development to organizational leadership to complex social problems. Mike has a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo and a BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.

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Doug Reeve University of Toronto

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Dr. Reeve is the founding Director of the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) established in 2010. Development of personal capability has been central to his work with engineering students for twenty-five years. In 2002 he established Leaders of Tomorrow, a student leadership development program that led to the establishment of ILead. He is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry.

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Abstract

Sports, arts and concrete canoes: Engineers learning to lead outside the formal curriculum

Context/Objective: Students sometimes think formal schooling is too impractical for the “real world.” While there may be some truth to this assertion, much student experience takes place beyond classroom walls. For example, the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement suggests that undergraduate engineering students at our university spend 15 hours a week engaging in co-curricular activities, working for pay, serving their communities and caring for dependents. Non-classroom activities such as these have been found to contribute to cognitive and affective growth [1-3], ethical development [4], improved critical thinking [5] and a sense of increased belonging, safety and self-esteem[6]. Our primary objective is to examine how non-classroom activities shape the leadership development of undergraduate engineering students. Relevance to engineering leadership: Our project examines how non-classroom experiences catalyze the leadership development of engineering students. Methodology: The findings for this paper were drawn from a survey of undergraduate engineering students at a large, research-intensive Canadian university. We collected 1247 surveys from students in 22 undergraduate engineering courses diversified by program and year, and used descriptive statistics, paired samples t-tests and Chi-square tests of independence to analyze 1203 of them (96% completion rate). We plan to supplement our analysis of survey data with follow-up focus groups. Results: Early results suggest that engineering students are engaged in one to eight different types of non-classroom activities; on average, student participated in two. The most frequently identified of these activities were paid work, design competitions and athletics. Student activity preferences differ by year, sex, ethno-cultural identity and program (all significant at the p<.05 level). Work, design competitions and professional development activities were most effective at helping students build their engineering skills while leadership programing, work and student government were most effective at helping them develop their leadership skills. Students who participated in high intensity activities (>20h/week) reported a greater gain in both leadership and engineering skill development than peers involved in lower-intensity activities. Recommendations & Implications: Our data suggests that co-curricular and extra-curricular activities catalyze engineering students’ leadership development. As leadership educators, we are in an excellent position to help them build on these experiences through “reflective observation,” “conceptualization” and “active experimentation” [7]. One example of our institute acting on this recommendation is a “club leaders roundtable” where students in formal leadership positions reflect on their experiences and engage in collective knowledge construction on engineering leadership. References 1. Feldman, A.F. and J.L. Matjasko, The role of school-based extracurricular activities in adolescent development: A comprehensive review and future directions. Review of Educational Research, 2005. 75(2): p. 159-210. 2. Huang, Y.-R. and S.-M. Chang, Academic and cocurricular involvement: Their relationship and the best combination for student growth. Journal of College Student Development, 2004. 45(4): p. 391-406. 3. Wilson, D., et al., The link between cocurricular activities and academic engagement in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 2014. 103(4): p. 625-651. 4. Finelli, C.J., et al., An assessment of engineering students' curricular and co-curricular experiences and their ethical development. Journal of Engineering Education, 2012. 101(3): p. 469-494. 5. Gellin, A., The effect of undergraduate student involvement on critical thinking: A meta-analysis of the literature 1991-2000. Journal of College Student Development, 2003. 44(6): p. 746-762. 6. Allendoerfer, C., et al., Strategic pathways for success: The influence of outside community on academic engagement. Journal of Engineering Education, 2012. 101(3): p. 512-538. 7. Kolb, D.A., Experiential Learning: Experiences as the Source of Learning and Development. 1984, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Rottmann, C., & Sacks, R., & Klassen, M., & Reeve, D. (2016, June), Sports, arts and concrete canoes: Engineers learning to lead outside the formal curriculum Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25858

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: © 2016 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