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The Engineering Leadership Development Minor At Penn State

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.457.1 - 1.457.8

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Paper Authors

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Larry C. Burton

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Jeffrey G. Soper

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Jack V. Matson

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

I .— - ...... Session 2432

.. . . . The Engineering Leadership Development Minor at Penn State

Larry C. Burton, Jack V. Matson, Jeffrey G. Soper The Pennsylvania State University


Penn State’s College of Engineering has begun anew, interdisciplinary minor to help engineering undergraduates develop the practical leadership skills they’ 11 need throughout their careers. The Engineering Leadership Development Minor is sponsored by the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, requires a minimum of 18 credits, and is open to students from all engineering majors. The focus of the Minor is to help students develop essential leadership skills, including ability to deal effectively with other people, to work in teams and to interact with customers on both national and international levels. Several new courses are being developed for the Minor, which began fall 1995.


The idea for the Leadership Minor originated from discussions by the members of the Leonhard Center Advisory Board. The Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education was established at Penn State through an endowment by William and Wyllis Leonhard to catalyze changes in the engineering curriculum that reflect the educational needs of students who will practice engineering in the twenty-first century. The Advisory Board is composed of twenty distinguished Penn State engineering alumni.

The Advisory Board, in conjunction with College of Engineering faculty and administrators, developed the concept of a “World Class Engineer” who has, in addition to solid grounding in technical and scientific principles, the following attributes:

q International outlook q Highly ethical orientation q Innovative leadership skills q Business savvy q Strong communication ability

Would it be possible for students to be introduced to these attributes, given that engineering curricula in the departments are already full, on top of pressure to reduce credit hours?

The discussion led to the possibility of a minor in leadership development that engineering students could take along with their majors. Historically, engineering majors emphasized depth, examples being

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Burton, L. C., & Soper, J. G., & Matson, J. V. (1996, June), The Engineering Leadership Development Minor At Penn State Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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