Engineering leadership: A new engineering discipline

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering


The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), recognizing the growing emphasis on leadership development in engineering, has established a new engineering discipline called Engineering Leadership (E-Lead). The primary educational objective of the E-Lead degree is to develop engineers into leaders with engineering domain knowledge, broad leadership knowledge, and the ability to inspire and lead others. But E-Lead goes well beyond being a program, an initiative, or a cluster of classes added to a degree plan. The E-Lead program also develops a culture where students actively contribute to their own education and where individual contributions are valued and important. E-Lead students strive for excellence because they have a sense of ownership and power over their own education. Building this new discipline has inherent challenges, especially within a large public university. To help minimize having to "reinvent the wheel" in starting an ambitious student-centered degree program from scratch, a partnership with Olin College of Engineering was formed. Our institutions' and faculties' shared values and objectives have helped us navigate the pitfalls inherent in the development of new discipline. This paper seeks to share our lessons learned and specific strategies for successful program development and implementation. These lessons learned range from issues of program culture to crafting student experiences in the classroom.



Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


At the time of publication, Richard T. Schoephoerster was affiliated with The University of Texas at El Paso.

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