Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program
"To me, the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program rediscovers MIT's culture of Mens et Manus ("Mind and Hand"). It builds on the momentum of many fine departmental educational efforts as well as on the broad support among MIT leadership and faculty for contextualizing learning. The Program represents the kind of educational innovation for which MIT has become renowned, and is on a scale that few other peer schools can embark on."
— Tom Kochan, George M. Bunker Professor of Management, MIT
In its report The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century, the National Academy of Engineering outlined the various fields in which students educated in engineering might go on to be leaders, including research, product and system development, business and even broader professions. The NAE concludes that:
"In preparation for this opportunity, engineers must understand the principles of leadership and be able to practice them in growing proportions as their careers advance. Complementary to the necessity for strong leadership ability is the need to also possess a working framework upon which high ethical standards and a strong sense of professionalism can be developed."
MIT has a responsibility to its students to prepare them for the roles in life they will play. Our existing academic engineering programs provide a firm basis of disciplinary knowledge and the modes of thought critical to the particular field—principally problems solving and research for engineers—and courses in the humanities and social sciences offer other disciplines with new ways of thinking and experiencing the world.
However, we could do a better job of preparing our students in the broader array of personal and professional capabilities from which they will draw in life, including critical and creative thinking, relating to others as members and leaders of teams, making sense of complex context and creating visions of the future.
As faculty, we’re challenged constantly to mold our students into better thinkers and better communicators. These invaluable characteristics are applicable in all facets of our students’ lives. They will make a future researcher more effective and they will make a future product/system developer more competitive. Beyond engineering, they are applicable to other roles that our graduates may play in life, including as leaders of society and even members of a family.
The challenge is of course how we could do more to meet these needs of the students within faculty and student time resources of an undergraduate program.
The Gordon ELP helps to develop these key personal and professional capabilities by exposing MIT undergraduate engineering students to challenging appropriate conceptual frameworks and models and by repeatedly engaging them in hands-on authentic experiences.
"There are many paths to success and virtually all of them require the kinds of skills you are providing in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program."
— Edmund Bertschinger, MIT Professor of Physics
Because it is designed as a program for engineering students, ELP contextualizes these traits in the areas where engineers are most likely to benefit, in the professional practice of engineering—the creative innovation, including the design, and implementation of new products, processes, projects, materials, molecules, software and systems, supported by the invention of enabling technologies, that together meet the needs of customers and society.
"This is not a great program. IT IS AN AWESOME PROGRAM. Would love to see more Course 3'ers involved."
— Edwin L. (Ned) Thomas, Former MIT Dept Head (Materials Science and Engineering); Current Dean of Engineering at Rice University
The Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program's platform will augment and enrich your existing project-based subjects with resources (modules, tools and personnel) related to engineering innovation, invention and implementation (EIII) and developing in your students the Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders.
"This module provided good guidelines for working in a project. This is actually useful because so many MIT students lack social skills and planning skills."
—L.H., MIT Student participating in Project Team Success module
|Project Team Success||Two one-hour sessions on project planning, teamwork, and leadership||Email Diane Soderholm to arrange|
|Teamwork||Four one-hour modules available for integration into existing team-based subjects: team contracts, effective team meetings, team member characteristics and styles, team communication and listening||Email Diane Soderholm to obtain materials|
|Project Engineering||Four one-hour modules available for integration into existing team-based subjects: project planning, project monitoring, decision-making, creative thinking)||Email Diane Soderholm to obtain materials|
|Leadership||One one-hour session on leadership including definitions, models, and self-assessments||Email Diane Soderholm to arrange|
|Project-based Learning Workshop||Half or full day workshop outlining concepts of project-based learning and teaching techniques; designed for faculty and TAs||Email Diane Soderholm to arrange|
|Professional Curriculum and Course Design Consulting Support||General curriculum and course design consulting support, including but not limited to: writing learning objectives; aligning objectives with content, delivery, and assessment; active learning techniques||Email Diane Soderholm to arrange|
Whichever resource you choose to incorporate into your subject, the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program:
- Strongly supports departmental programs, subject design and development, and faculty development programs;
- Builds a foundation for sustainable project-based learning;
- Provides funds to support aligned educational endeavors; and
- Offers assessment instruments and data on Program effectiveness.
"Essentially all of my teaching centers around engineering design-build-evaluate activities for students. My freshmen seminar, co-taught with Professor Jim Kirtley and Les Norford, is a good example: We challenge the freshmen to work in groups of three to build experiments that let them explore principles of electromagnetic energy conversion.
"We have traditionally handled "teamwork teaching" in an ad hoc way, applauding good results and working to correct problems as they arose. The Gordon Teamwork module is a real step up, providing a logical framework for engaging the students in developing good teamwork practices that deliver real results in the laboratory without distracting from the technical learning in class. I'm very pleased and I will definitely keep the module in my quiver for future terms."
— Dr. Steven B. Leeb, Professor, EECS & MechE, MacVicar Faculty Fellow
The Bottom Line: ELP Offers You Valuable Resources
For faculty, the Gordon ELP should be seen as a resource and support organization. We seek to support departmental programs and build a foundation of sustainable project-based learning.
"I'm writing to thank you for the team training you conducted in 10.10. Our project is now finished, and I'm very pleased to say that the number of complaints I received about team troubles was less than a quarter of last year's. Furthermore, the majority of those cases appeared to be resolved by the mechanisms in place due to your team training. I appreciate the flexibility you showed in adapting to our schedule and constraints, and thank you for a meaningful contribution to our class."
— Barry S. Johnston, Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Officer, Department of Chemical Engineering
"I really liked how this exercise gave us an insight to the real world. I also like how it helped us see the importance of social skills and develop them through hands-on activity."
—A.F., MIT student participating in Project Team Success module
To discover how ELP's resources can help your subject run more smoothly, contact Education Director Diane Soderholm or 617-253-5575.
The Teamwork and Project Engineering Modules were developed by the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program through a generous gift from Bernard M. Gordon.