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Engineers must not only have design and technical skills, they must also possess the ability to work in and lead teams, adopt and adapt to change, and act as leaders who can think in terms of the bigger picture. To develop these skills, engineering students must be actively involved in their education and trained to continually learn. Many engineering students have become accustomed to traditional forms of education, which can lead to passivity and dependence on faculty to tell them what to know and why they need to know it. Research in organizational behavior suggests a solution can lie in modifying the traditional learning environment by moving to an organizational structure based on shared leadership. This paper explores the concept of shared leadership in engineering education and describes specific structures that have been used in courses to develop shared leadership among engineering students, as well as outcomes of these structures.
Date of Conference: 18-21 Oct. 2009