Building Leaders: A National Examination of the Leadership Capacities within Engineering Undergraduate Students

Clinton M. Stephens, David Michael Rosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The demand for leadership capacity in engineering graduates is growing. However, little research has been done to examine the current state of leadership education of engineering students. Using a college experience framework, we tested how engineering students' leadership-oriented experiences and outcomes differ from non-engineering students. This study examined a national representative sample of students (N = 90,444) encompassing 101 higher education institutions. The results suggest that engineering students are less involved in group experiences in high school, but do not differ from comparable peers in self-reported leadership capacity coming to college. The involvement gap continues throughout their higher education. While their self-reported leadership capacity remains similar to comparable non-engineering students, the results suggest their ability to interact on diverse teams remains depressed. This study has significant implications for the processes engineering educators utilize to support their students in building working relationships and successful teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-997
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • CEM
  • Leadership
  • Regression
  • SCM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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