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The Paul Peck Program: A Multi-year Leadership Development Program

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Approaches for Enhancing Non-technical Skills

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1562.1 - 26.1562.8



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Paper Authors


Alistar Erickson-Ludwig Drexel University

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Ms. Alistar Erickson-Ludwig serves as the STEM Program Coordinator in the College of Engineering at Drexel University. She focuses on outreach and education programs for current undergraduates, k-12 students, and the community. She concentrates on the Greater Philadelphia Seaperch Underwater Robotics Competition, Summer Diversity Program, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) at Drexel, among others. In collaboration with other College of Engineering faculty and staff she co-teaches a sequence of classes for the Paul Peck Scholars Program. Alistar received her B.A. from Drew University and Master’s from Duke University.

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Rosie Sullivan Drexel University

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The Paul Peck Program: A Multi-Year Leadership Development ProgramProgram OverviewThe Paul Peck Scholars Program is a peer mentorship program in the first year and develops intoa leadership program in subsequent years. Students in the first year of the program are pairedwith an upperclassman peer mentor, and have the option to continue the program through theirsecond, third, and fourth years, during which time they participate in the leadership developmentaspect of the program. Through six to eight specialized courses integrated into the engineeringcurriculum, including a culminating service learning capstone course, students learn that theessence of mentorship, leadership and innovation lies in the ability to communicate effectively,apply critical thinking and reasoned problem solving to any situation to produce tangible andmeasurable results. The engineering curriculum at many schools focuses heavily on technicalskills development. Curriculum may be limited to a specific number of hours of technicalcoursework leaving little room to add new courses, especially those that integrate soft skills. Theworkforce demands technical skills, yet the changing work environment and competitive globalmarket also drives demand for teamwork, ethics, problem solving, and communication within theengineering curriculum. Previous research has found that a skills gap is present among collegegraduates and workforce demands. Programs like Paul Peck are shown to be effective in aidingin the development of soft skills, supporting civic engagement, and promoting leadership througha multipronged approach that includes peer mentorship and multidisciplinary coursework.Program ParticipantsThe program information and application are available on the program’s website, and outreach inthe form of weekly newsletters is also disseminated to all first and second year students. First-year students self select into the program and upper-class students are chosen through acompetitive application process. The program began in 2009 with approximately 22 peermentors. In 2012, the mentorship program fused with a leadership program. By Fall 2013, over80 students were involved with the Peck Scholars program, either as first-year mentees,sophomore Scholars/mentors, or third-year Scholars in advanced leadership courses. Theaddition of a 4th year (or Pre-junior year of courses) began in the 2013-2014 year. By Spring2014, nearly 125 students are associated with the Peck Scholars program.Program OutcomesThe coordinators of the Peck Scholars peer educator program used a variety of assessmentmethods: focus groups, course evaluations, GPA data, and periodic web-based surveys tounderstand the types of students who have chosen to participate in the program. The programattracts a high number of women (31% vs College average of 17%, AY2013-2014) andinternational students (24% vs. College average of 16%, AY2013-2014). Program participantsalso represent at least 10 different majors, indicating that this program is attractive to manydifferent types of students. Program participants show higher retention rates (84%, AY2013) andGPAs (3.07, AY2013) than non-participants.In conclusion, while emphasis is placed upon transition and development of first-year students, itis important to continue these programs into the second year and beyond. By implementing atiered peer education structure, institutions can promote students from mentees to engagedleaders in their campus community. This is accomplished through our structure of a four-yearprogram, which provides students with skills in like leadership, communication, civicengagement and collaboration across multiple disciplines.Program Structure and Classes                              

Erickson-Ludwig, A., & Sullivan, R. (2015, June), The Paul Peck Program: A Multi-year Leadership Development Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24899

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: © 2015 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