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Teaching Leadership Principles To Undergraduate Engineering And Technology Students

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Engaging Students in Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1142.1 - 14.1142.9



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Paper Authors

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Val Hawks Brigham Young University

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Ronald Terry Brigham Young University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching Leadership Principles to Undergraduate Engineering and Technology Students


In an address given in 1997 the former president of Brigham Young University’s Board of Trustees, Gordon B. Hinckley, said to students, ”I hope you will distinguish yourselves as leaders. I hope your training at this university will endow you with an interesting and powerful sense of responsibility toward the world of which you will be a part.”1 In our technology bound world, we, in engineering and technology, have a unique opportunity to provide leadership as never before. We believe that we must think of our professional mission in light of this challenge to lead.

In commenting on this unique opportunity, Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat quoted Shirley Ann Jackson, then President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and, in 2004, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “‘The U.S. is still the leading engine for innovation in the world. But there is a quiet crisis . . . The U.S. today is in a truly global environment, and those competitor countries are not only wide awake, they are running a marathon while we are running sprints. If left unchecked, this could challenge our preeminence and capacity to innovate.’”2 The authors of the report, The Engineer of 2020 recognized this and further stated, “The economy in which we will work will be strongly influenced by the global marketplace for engineering services. . . . . The steady integration of technology in our infrastructure and lives calls for more involvement by engineers in the setting of public policy and in participation in the civic arena. . . . . attributes needed for the graduates of 2020 . . . include such traits as strong analytical skills, creativity, ingenuity, professionalism, and leadership.”3 In the National Academy of Engineering follow-up report entitled Educating the Engineer of 2020, engineering educators were encouraged to provide more training in professional ethics, leadership, knowledge of global technology issues, and understanding of the world’s cultures in order to facilitate working in a global arena and engagement in civic activities.4

Partly in response to this “quiet crisis,” but also to realize the greater potential of our students, the Brigham Young University Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology administration proposed a strategy to pursue a set of initiatives that would help prepare and develop students as leaders. This strategy described in a paper delivered at an earlier ASEE meeting involves “five key areas of focus: 1) Technical Excellence with a systems emphasis, 2) Leadership, 3) Character Development (including ethics), 4) Global Awareness and 5) Innovation that address the attributes needed for success in a changing global environment.”5

Subsequently, a course was proposed by college faculty to help our students develop these key attributes. Specifically, the purpose of the proposed class was to address the need to help build leaders who understand and are prepared to address the emerging global world environment from an integrated moral, technical, and social perspective. The course, meets university general education requirements in both the Social Science and Global and Cultural Awareness areas, is

Hawks, V., & Terry, R. (2009, June), Teaching Leadership Principles To Undergraduate Engineering And Technology Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5361

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