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The Engineering Leader of the Future: Research and Perspectives

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Literature and Research Perspectives on Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

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Paper Authors


Meg Handley Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Meg Handley is currently the Associate Director for Engineering Leadership Outreach at Penn State University. Previously, Meg served as the Director of the Career & Corporate Connection's office at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Meg completed her PhD in Workforce Education at Penn State, where she focused on interpersonal behaviors and their impact on engineering leadership potential.

Meg is a board certified coach with experience in developing students' leadership and professional competencies through teaching and one-on-one coaching. She is most interested in developing student knowledge of leadership to impact their successful transition to the workplace.

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Jeffery M. Plumblee II The Citadel

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Dr. Jeffery Plumblee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Leadership and Program Management (ELPM) in the School of Engineering (SOE) at The Citadel. Dr. Plumblee earned his BS in Civil Engineering at Clemson University (2008), Masters in Civil Engineering at Clemson University (2009), Masters of Business Administration at Clemson University (2013), and Doctorate of Philosophy in Civil Engineering at Clemson University (2013). Dr. Plumblee’s dissertation research sought to better understand the relationship between sustainability and resilience in residential construction. He continued his work in resilience by helping to kick start a new business line at Fluor Corporation in Business Continuity and Disaster Management Solutions, where he primarily worked as a consultant with Fortune 100 aerospace and pharmaceutical clients.

Plumblee’s research interests focus on building a more resilient society, as well as innovation in resource constrained settings (primarily humanitarian technology and delivery). Plumblee founded an international award winning organization (Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries), which has successfully completed over $2 million of infrastructure improvements in rural Haiti. He continues his research to drive innovation of experiential learning within engineering education.

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Andrew Michael Erdman The Pennsylvania State University

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Andrew M. "Mike" Erdman received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State and his M.S. from USC. Erdman has also taken courses at RPI, Union, UCLA, UCSB, MIT, and Dartmouth. At Rocketdyne (Pratt & Whitney), he helped design the Space Shuttle. As manager of Reactor Safety Analysis, Experimental Engineering, and Fluid Dynamics Technology at KAPL (Lockheed Martin), he conducted research for Naval Reactors. He currently serves as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership and as an instructor in Engineering Science at Penn State.
Erdman has chaired the local Jaycees, Department of Social Services Advisory Council, GE Share Board, and Curling Club; and served on the Human Services Planning Council, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Capital Fund Drive Boards of Directors. Erdman has also lectured on leadership topics at Penn State and RPI. He returned to campus frequently as a recruiter (25 years) for GE and Lockheed Martin, serving on the Penn State College of Engineering Advisory Council, helped establish an Alumni Advisory Board, and served as the President of the College of Engineering Alumni Society. Affiliations include the Penn State Alumni Association, Centre County Chapter Board of Directors, President’s Club, Nittany Lion Club, ASEE, ASME, AIAA, AKC, GRCA. He has been honored with a LMC/KAPL Leadership Award, GE Phillippe Award, PSEAS Outstanding service award, Jaycee International Senatorship, and an ESM Centennial Fellowship.

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Using a Systematic Review to Identify Leadership Competency Needs Across Engineering Disciplines

Over the past two decades, influential engineering organizations such as NAE and ABET have increasingly emphasized that future engineers must understand and apply leadership principles throughout their career, remembering the global and societal impacts of engineering. The recent call for leadership development in engineers is a result of a variety of economic, societal, environmental, and demographic forces. With ABET’s revisions to include leadership of teams, ethics, and communications in its student outcomes, it is important to understand what the academic literature has revealed to inform decision-making on educational initiatives and assessment strategies. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a pilot study using the systematic review of literature for one engineering discipline, civil engineering, to summarize the state of knowledge and education related to engineering leadership development since 2000.

A systematic review of engineering leadership literature was completed using the guidelines defined by Borrego, Foster, and Froyd1. The study included a review of three journals within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The three journals included: Journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering; Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice; Journal of Management in Engineering. Analysis of these three journals resulted in 77 articles based on a search of leadership and engineering+leadership. The ASCE journals were selected based on the relevance to engineering leadership education and the specific focus on the topic within an engineering specific discipline. This study is valuable to the engineering leadership community as it analyzes a method for synthesizing the research related to engineering leadership for potential use as a framework for a larger study across multiple disciplines.

[1] Borrego, M., Foster, M.J., Froyd, J.E., (2014). Systematic literature reviews in engineering education and other developing interdisciplinary fields. Journal of Engineering Education. 103(1), pp. 45-76. DOI: 10.1002/jee.20038

Handley, M., & Plumblee, J. M., & Erdman, A. M. (2018, June), The Engineering Leader of the Future: Research and Perspectives Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31096

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015