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Systematic Team Formation Leading to Peer Support and Leadership Skills Development

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Engineering Economy Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Tagged Topic

ASEE Diversity Committee

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Paper Authors


Corey Kiassat, PhD, MBA, PE P.E. Quinnipiac University

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Dr. Corey Kiassat is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University and has a BASc and a PhD degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has an MBA, majoring in Marketing and International Business, from York University. Corey is a Professional Engineer and has 11 years of industry experience in manufacturing engineering and operations management with General Motors in USA and Canada. He has also been involved with a start-up company in personalized preventive healthcare. Corey’s research focus is on the role of people on performance of systems. His general research interests include process optimization, human reliability, distraction and human error, and failure risk analysis.

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Xiaoyue Jiang Quinnipiac University

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Dr. Xiaoyue Jiang is Visiting Professor of Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University. He has a PhD degree in industrial engineering and a master degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto, a master degree in operations research from Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a BSc degree in economic mathematics from Renmin University of China. Xiaoyue’s research interests include smart-grid and renewable integration, platform system design and optimization, performance guarantees for service and supply-chain systems, and reliability and maintenance optimization.

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There are numerous courses, within Engineering or external, that are taught in multiple sections and are multi-disciplinary. Within such settings, this paper aims to examine the role of team formation on the following: 1) the learning of everyone, as measured by end-of-term grades, especially the weaker students; and 2) the quality of experience of the team leaders. The design and implementation of an experiment in team formation is proposed in multiple sections of an Engineering Economic Analysis course with a high content of teamwork. In the treatment group, the students are placed in teams based on academic ability. Each team is balanced by having a member from each of the “great”, “above average” “average” and “below average” category. The “great” student is designated as the team leader. In the control group, the students form their own teams of four and pick their own team leader. Team formation is most likely based on previous familiarity of being in the same engineering discipline. The primary hypothesis is that class average in the section with the treatment group will be higher. This is especially true for the students in the “average” and “below average” students who will have easy access to stronger team members in study groups or for additional support. The secondary hypothesis is that the team leaders in the treatment group will gain more skills in leadership, motivation, and conflict resolution as the team members have little to no prior knowledge about each other. The proposed Engineering Economic Analysis course is one of only three engineering courses during the entire engineering curriculum at X University that is common to all four engineering disciplines offered. It is also the only one with a technical content, requiring analytical work and problem solving. 50 percent of the students’ end-of-term grade is team-based. Commonality across the engineering programs ensures a large class size and multiple sections. Having multiple sections and sufficient sample size in each provides the opportunity for control and treatment groups within a design of experiment framework, leading to statistically significant conclusions.

Kiassat, PhD, MBA, PE, C., & Jiang, X. (2016, June), Systematic Team Formation Leading to Peer Support and Leadership Skills Development Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26001

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