Complete Engineer - Engineering Education and Leadership Research

Engineering Education and Leadership Research


There are many publications that outline best practices for administering leadership development programs in engineering education. Several universities have engineering leadership institutes, centers, and/or formal research programs that track and monitor leadership development trends among collegiate engineers throughout the nation. However, specifically, limited research has been conducted on the leadership and professional skill development of UNL's undergraduate engineers. 

Until now.

As part of The Complete Engineer Initiative, and in collaboration with UNL’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication (ALEC) and Engineering Student Services (ESS), the College of Engineering is organizing an engineering education and leadership research program that will identify and assess leadership and competency development for undergraduate engineers. In addition to learning more about how our engineers develop, it is also the goal that the outcomes and recommendations of this program will have practical implications for the delivery of seminar courses, leadership and professional development courses, and co-curricular services and programs to further prepare our graduates for the demands of the workforce (and world) following graduation.  

Refereed Proceedings:

We are committed in our research and scholarship of teaching and learning and have presented preliminary findings at several professional conferences. You can read about these initiatives in the conference proceedings below.

Zafft, C.R., Skradaski, A., & Curtis, E. (2016, July). The Experiences of Engineers as Undergraduate Teaching Assistants for an Introductory Leadership Course. Association of Leadership Educators Annual Conference Proceedings, Sacramento, CA.

Li, Y., & Daher, T. (2016) Integrating Innovative Classroom activities with Flipped Teaching in a Water Resources Engineering Class. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 05016008 

Daher, T. , Bernstien, S. & Meyer B (2016) Using Blended Learning to Address Instructional Challenges in a Freshman Engineering Course. American Society of Engineering Education proceedings. 10.18260/p.27133

Zafft, C.R., McElravy, L.J., & Curtis, E. (August, 2015). PsyCap to Promote & Assess Professional Skills for Undergraduate Engineering Students. First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) Annual Conference Proceedings, Roanoke/Blacksburgh, Va.

Zafft, C.R., Curtis, E.T., & Williams, D. (July, 2012). Assessing Engineering Student Perception and Performance of Leadership Skills through an Introductory Leadership Course. Association of Leadership Educators Annual Conference Proceedings, Key West, FL.

Research in Progress:

Our aim is continuous improvement through similar initiatives and further research. Current projects include:
  • College of Engineering Program Review for Retention & Professional Skill Development: This program review is aimed at measuring important factors in the leadership and professional development of engineering students and to what extent PsyCap (positive psychological capital) can be used to evaluate student development and persistence in an engineering program.
  • What is a Complete Engineer? The purpose of this research project is to continuously evaluate the core competencies engineers need to meet the demands of the workforce following graduation.

Research Team: