Leadership Project: Engagement In, And Benefits of, Out-Of-Class Activities
CURE: Engineering Undergraduate Research: Leadership Project: Engagement In, And Benefits of, Out-Of-Class Activities
Dr. Denise R. Simmons
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Leadership is a crucial skill in the modern world of engineering, and there is an array of professional competencies which, if developed properly, will make a phenomenal leader. The goal of this work is to find activities which fourteen civil and construction engineering majors across the country use to attain career readiness in the form of leadership during their undergraduate career. This work implemented an inductive analysis approach on interviews. Initial familiarity was established through the process of memo writing. From this, common themes and patterns were put into a codebook, which was a living document which would alter with each discovery. The codes and subcodes were applied to all transcripts, with weekly debriefings among coders to ensure reliability. The theme applied here is the means of professional development, being internships, school organizations, the classroom, and other. Many of these were attributed to the facilitation of communication, adaptability, and competencies which culminate into a strong leader. Each of these had codes associated with them, which were collected to see the frequency of focus. Despite the diversity of experiences, all found growth from some activity outside of class. The only uniform trait was that each interviewee identified the school as a place with emphasis on the technical knowledge, sometimes to the detriment of professional development. An expansion on prior work, the experiences of these students indicate a need for a paradigm shift in the civil and construction engineering education structure, while still encouraging students to involve themselves in external activities.
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