Asee peer logo

The Touchstone Engineering Leadership Development Program

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Innovation in Engineering Leadership Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1577.1 - 26.1577.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jay B. Brockman University of Notre Dame

visit author page

Dr. Jay Brockman is the Associate Dean of Engineering for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and previously worked for Intel Corporation. He is also a founder of Emu Solutions, Inc., a startup company that is commercializing research in the area of high-performance computing.

visit author page


Victoria E. Goodrich University of Notre Dame

visit author page

Dr. Victoria Goodrich is the Director of the First-Year Engineering Program at the University of Notre Dame. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Notre Dame. Her research focuses primarily on Engineering Education issues, especially focused within the first-year engineering experience.

visit author page


Gary Allen Gilot P.E. University of Notre Dame

visit author page

Gary A. Gilot is the Director of Engineering Leadership and Community Engagement at the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Gary is a Fellow at the University Center for Social Concerns.

Gary earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University in Upstate New York (1978), and Masters in Business Administration from Indiana University at South Bend (1985). He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Indiana (since 1982).

As Public Works Director for the City of South Bend for 12 years, and interim transition consultant post-retirement for another 2 years, Gary was responsible for an over 300 person, $65 million per year enterprise and implementation of a $ 40-50 million per year Capital Improvement Program.

Gary introduced innovative technology solutions and coached teamwork across silos of the large South Bend organization and fostering numerous creative collaborations.

Gary continues to serve as President of Board of Public Works in South Bend which has management oversight for the municipality.

Gary previously served as City Engineer, Director of Public Works and Utilities and President of Board of Public Works in Elkhart, Indiana for over 16 years.

Gary remains actively engaged in the community. He serves on the advisory board and is a mentor of the EnFocus (entrepreneurial focus) Michiana Venture Fellows. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Indiana University at South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future. Gary also serves on the Salvation Army Kroc Center Advisory Board.

Locally, Gary was recognized for distinguished public service by the South Bend Alumni Association. On a statewide level of recognition, Gary is a recipient of the Ivan H. Brinegar municipal management award through the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. Nationally in August, 2010, Gary was selected as the nation's 2010 “Public Works Leader of the Year” by American City & County magazine for technology innovation.

Gary has been married to wife Debra for 34 years.

visit author page

Download Paper |


“The Touchstone Engineering Leadership Development Program”Great engineering leaders require more than great technical skills. The president emeritus of aprivate Midwestern research university has spoken of a vision of leadership based on “threeC’s:” competence, commitment, and compassion. The mayor of the city where that universityresides speaks of leadership through engagement, “where talent meets purpose.”The Touchstone Engineering Leadership program at this university seeks to deliver on thesevisions of leadership though a partnership between the College of Engineering, the College ofBusiness, and the Campus Center for Social Concerns, the local city Department of PublicWorks, and other community stakeholders. The name “Touchstone” refers to the strong andrecurring role that the university plays throughout the lives of students and alumni, as well as therole that it plays in the cultural and economic life of the surrounding community. The programhas three distinct yet interrelated curricular offerings, each targeted towards participants atdifferent levels of experience and mastery of leadership skills, that draw from a common skillsinventory and set of core values. These offerings are as follows:  Leadership Enhancements to Existing Undergraduate Courses: Project-based first-year engineering courses and senior capstone design courses have been enhanced to include leadership modules with the goal of introducing skills to make project teams more effective. A key focus is the role of self-awareness in effective leadership (and follower- ship). While these projects may have external stakeholders, project scope is still largely academic in nature. Students are expected to progress from a novice to apprentice level of mastery of leadership skills.  Engineering Undergraduate Executive Education through Community Engagement: Select undergraduate students comprising largely the leadership of engineering student organizations are invited to participate in this intensive program, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of these organizations and the leadership skills of their members. The curriculum of this program is based on the continuing Executive Education program of the College of Business, adapted to the “undergraduate executive” context. As part of this program, the undergraduate engineering organizations are encouraged to “bid” on community projects suggested by the local Department of Public Works to apply both technical and leadership skills. These projects have a broader range of stakeholders and more complex constraints than typical academic projects, and participants are expected to progress from an apprentice to journeyman level of mastery of leadership skills.  Continuing Executive Engineering Leadership Education: This offering is designed to support alumni and other engineering professions through key leadership transitions throughout their careers as the progress toward a master skill level of leadership. Offered as fee-based two-day workshops held on campus, these programs include networking with students in the undergraduate executive leadership program, and also help financially support the undergraduate offerings.The final presentation and paper will detail the experiences and outcomes over the first two yearsof this program, which includes enhancements to existing courses reaching over 500 students,undergraduate executive education programs with over 50 students, and continuing education foralumni and other with over 15 students.

Brockman, J. B., & Goodrich, V. E., & Gilot, G. A. (2015, June), The Touchstone Engineering Leadership Development Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24914

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