Organizations with a common leadership mission partner to research, design and implement new educational elements that enhance the value of an engineering education
Dallas, TX (SMU) – The Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) today announced a groundbreaking partnership that aims to transform engineering education by making leadership development a key component of studying engineering.
The collaboration between CCL and SMU’s Hart Center for Engineering Leadership (HCEL) will focus on developing leadership skills in all engineering students as a core part of their collegiate experience. The HCEL/CCL plan marks a significant departure from the more traditional approach where leadership training is offered as electives and attended by a fraction of the engineering student body.
“Graduating a new generation of engineers with key leadership skills will help drive our economy in ways that directly enhance our global competitiveness while also expanding our sense of social responsibility,” said Lyle School Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “It is just too important for our engineering students, and for the engineering discipline as a whole, to not invest in leadership development. This partnership with CCL will give us the research and expertise necessary to do this right.”
CCL’s Leadership Beyond Boundaries team, which delivers leadership training around the world, will work with the Hart Center and Lyle School faculty to infuse elements of existing curricula with CCL tools in ways that will actually complement the subject matter while maintaining technical rigor. Already, leadership instruction has been integrated into the curriculum of first-year engineering students at SMU and will extend to older students as the academic year unfolds.
HCEL and CCL teams are also designing leadership training and developmental experiences for students outside the classroom. “If you examine the entire four year collegiate experience, students spend more time out of classrooms than in them” said John Kiser, executive director of the Hart Center. “That leaves a lot of room for opportunities to teach and reinforce leadership through challenging developmental experiences”. The end result: engineering students who graduate with many high-impact experiences, both curricular and co-curricular, that put them in better position to be future leaders of society.
“We hear increasingly from higher education institutions around the United States and the world that it is crucial to make leadership development a core component of the educational experience,” John Ryan, CCL’s President and CEO said. “We are privileged to partner with SMU on a venture that we both believe can provide a sustainable model for enhancing education in every field.”
Importantly, this partnership will bring about new research to advance the science of developing engineers as leaders and lead to new assessment tools to measure the impact of development programs. “It’s not enough to simply reach students,” said Kiser. “We want to observe and evaluate their professional growth to understand how students internalize best practices of leadership and apply them to all areas of their lives.”
About the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership
The Hart Center for Engineering Leadership was created to help engineering students think and act strategically about their professional development. The Center was founded on the belief that leadership and professional development of students should be done by design and with purpose. This new vision challenges all students to proactively sharpen their leadership skills as they build their deep technical knowledge. Visitwww.smu.edu/Lyle/Undergrad/CEL.aspx for more information.