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Teaching Leadership With 10,000 Words Part Ii: Cinematic Portrayals

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1214.1 - 10.1214.5



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Paper Authors

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Robert Martinazzi

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

Session XXXX (Poster Session)

Teaching Leadership with 10,000 Words, Page 2: Cinematic Portrayals

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Robert Martinazzi David F. Ward


Last year, the authors presented “Teaching Leadership with 10,000 Words” a paper about using film as an integral part of to teaching leadership in an Engineering Leadership class.1 This course was originally developed by the lead author, and has proven itself to be highly successful at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Engineering Technology curriculum. Two years ago, the second author joined in teaching a portion of the course because of his expertise and experience in teaching film as literature. By working together, the authors are continually refining the process by which film as a leadership example is taught.

A new refinement now adds another element to the course, focusing on considering the film as the mediator (the delivery system) of the leadership message and then asking the students, to consider just how the film communicates its messages. When individuals watch a film, what they are observing is the culmination of conscious choices made by a production team of artists and craftsmen. Normally films are identified as the product of the director, i.e. Peter Weir’s Master and Commander, but it is inherently recognized that the finished film represents the product of many contributors, each of whom has processed the message of the film through his/her own consciousness. In short, these artists have “mediated” the message of the film to the viewers. Even if the film has a historical context, that context has been “mediated” through the minds of the contributing artists.

Thus in watching the film, the viewers make a judgment as to the relative success or failure of the various presentational choices made and decide whether or not this is a “good” or “bad” film.

Since the class and the students are specifically interested in “leadership” issues, students are asked to analyze how these choices affect the leadership issues demonstrated in the film. The need exists to go beyond the literal meaning of the film into questions of what the film itself intends to communicate to its audience.

This approach also has a direct impact on developing leaders, and especially leaders in the engineering and engineering technology field. By requiring students to become more aware of the medium, the authors, by default, require them to become more observant and more critically aware of the context in which the message is delivered. Enhanced Proceedings of the 2005American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Martinazzi, R. (2005, June), Teaching Leadership With 10,000 Words Part Ii: Cinematic Portrayals Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14766

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