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Student Perspective on Defining Engineering Leadership

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Student and Other Views on Engineering Leadership

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1424.1 - 26.1424.12



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Paper Authors


Robyn Paul University of Calgary Orcid 16x16

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Robyn is a Master of Science candidate in Civil Engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the impact that teaching engineers leadership has on early career success. She co-founded the Engineering Education Students’ Society and is involved with initiatives to collaborate nationally to increase the conversation with students about engineering education.

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Lynne Gradon Cowe Falls P.Eng. University of Calgary

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Influence of Engineering Leadership Education on Early Career Success: A case studyAbstractSocietal expectations of engineers in the 21st century have dramatically changed over the pastfew decades, yet our engineering education has remained relatively constant. There is an evidentneed to educate engineers not just in physics and mathematics, but also in many non-technicalareas including globalization, communication, and leadership. The National Academy ofEngineering1 prepared a report in 2004 emphasizing the challenges of the continuous changeexpected in the engineering profession. In discussion of the attributes needed for the graduates ofengineering in 2020, the report specifically mentioned the need for engineers to understand theprinciples of leadership throughout their career.To address this need, in 2006 _Institution_ developed a co-curricular program with a focus onleadership called the _Name XX_ Leadership Program (xSLP). The aim of this program is toprovide engineering students with an “opportunity to accelerate their careers and realize their fullleadership potential2.” Student leaders have been participating in this program over the last eightyears, thus the question becomes: What influence has the leadership program had on newengineers in their careers?To answer this question, past participants of xSLP with a minimum of 2 years career experiencewill be interviewed. The interview will discuss their experiences in the xSLP, their current careerstatus, and any perceived relationship between the two. The interview transcripts analysis willfollow the constructionist thematic analysis method as defined by Braun and Clarke3. Thismethod will best develop meaning from what was articulated in the data in order to gain anunderstanding of the xSLP.The _Institution_ will be able to use the findings from this study to understand the influence thexSLP has on participants’ careers. If there is a positive influence, more resources could beallocated for integrating elements of the xSLP into the mandatory engineering curriculum. Thiswould help to better prepare graduating engineers for the demands of the 21st century. Otherengineering institutions may be able to use the methods and findings from this study to helpevaluate or develop their own internal leadership programs.[1] NAE (2004). The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National AcademiesPress. Retrieved from[2] Beyond Engineering (remainder of citation removed for anonymity)[3] Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101.Retrieved from

Paul, R., & Cowe Falls, L. G. (2015, June), Student Perspective on Defining Engineering Leadership Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24761

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