Improving Bioengineering Student Leadership Identity Via Training and Practice within the Core-Course


The development of a leadership identity has become significant in bioengineering education as a result of an increasing emphasis on teamwork within the profession and corresponding shifts in accreditation criteria. Unsurprisingly, placing bioengineering students in teams to complete classroom-based projects has become a dominant pedagogical tool. However, recent research indicates that engineering students may not develop a leadership identity, much less increased leadership capacity, as a result of such efforts. Within this study, we assessed two similar sections of an introductory course in bioengineering; each placed students in teams, while one also included leadership training and leadership practice. Results suggest that students in the leadership intervention section developed a strong self-image of themselves as leaders compared to students in the control section. These data suggest that creating mechanisms for bioengineering students to be trained in leadership and to practice leadership behaviors within a classroom team may be keys for unlocking leadership development.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. Jennifer Amos for her assistance with the IRB process and for informative discussions. We would also like to thank Dr. Kelly Cross for informative discussions. The authors would also like to thank the Illinois Leadership Center for their participation in this work, in particular Jeff Yacup and Furqan Hadi. Finally, we would like to thank members of the BIOE201 teaching team: Dr. Dipanjan Pan, Jared Weddell, and Ali Ansari. This work was supported by National Science Foundation CBET Grant #1512598 (P. Imoukhuede).

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Correspondence to P. I. Imoukhuede.

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Associate Editor Kent Leach oversaw the review of this article.

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Rosch, D.M., Imoukhuede, P.I. Improving Bioengineering Student Leadership Identity Via Training and Practice within the Core-Course. Ann Biomed Eng 44, 3606–3618 (2016).

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  • Leadership development
  • Undergraduate education
  • StrengthsFinder
  • Teambuilding
  • Sophomore
  • Core-course
  • Engineering education