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The Design of a Leadership Development Programme for Women Engineering Students at a South African University

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Undergraduate Student Issues II

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1180.1 - 23.1180.15



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Paper Authors


Ann Sharon Lourens Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Port Elizabeth South Africa

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I have been involved in academia for the past 17 years after spending eight years working in various manufacturing industries. I hold qualifications in Operations Management and Business (MBA and DBA). I am currently the Head of Department of Industrial Engineering at the NMMU in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I am also the Project Leader for wela (women in engineering leadership association) which falls under the Engineering School at the NMMU.

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THE DESIGN OF A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR WOMEN ENGINEERINGSTUDENTS AT THE NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY IN PORT ELIZABETHSOUTH AFRICA.In recent years, there is a growing recognition among educators, researchers, government and industryof the imperative to educate women engineering students in life and leadership skills that complementstheir engineering competence. It is believed that this combination will contribute greatly to theattraction and retention of women in the engineering field.The School of Engineering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elisabeth,South Africa, offers formal qualifications in electrical, industrial, civil and mechanical engineering inaddition to a degree in mechatronics. Various informal courses are also offered, close links aremaintained with industry and service departments assist faculties in various areas. One of the initiativeshoused in the School of Engineering is wela (women in engineering leadership association). Wela is oneof five projects initiated and managed by the NMMU and the merSETA (manufacturing, engineering andrelated services sector education and training authority) chair in Engineering Development. Wela wasinitiated in 2011 and it is the goal of wela to focus on academic, professional and personal developmentof women in engineering.Further to these goals, a woman in engineering leadership development programme (wela-ldp) basedon the university values, graduate skills required by the Industry, input from women engineers, womenengineering students and other national and international leadership development programmes wascreated.The objectives of this paper is to provide a theoretical basis for the design of a leadership developmentprogramme; to provide insight into the process of developing a leadership development programmespecifically for women engineering students at the NMMU and in the South African context; and topropose an evaluation process for the programme. The findings will be used to provide guidelines forengineering women leadership development programme design and evaluation specifically for highereducation in Southern Africa.

Lourens, A. S. (2013, June), The Design of a Leadership Development Programme for Women Engineering Students at a South African University Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22565

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