Project: National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE)

Authors: Jenifer V. Helms, Michelle Phillips, Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: January 2011

National Center for Engineering and Technology Education – Review of Leadership Capacity (pdf, 19 pages)


Inverness Research has evaluated three NSF-funded Centers for Learning and Teaching (CLTs). Through this work, we have identified and vetted five dimensions for examining the work that Centers do. These dimensions are: Leadership; Knowledge Generation and Flow; Relationships and Connections; Programs, Structures, and Policies; and “Centerness.” As the external evaluator for the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE), Inverness has focused its efforts in year 6 on documenting the progress the Center has made according to these drivers. The focus of this report is the first dimension: the development and support of leadership.

Inverness has developed a particular perspective on leadership through our study of CLTs. Our point of view is not limited to the traditional notion of people with followers; rather, we see leaders as people who have the ability, propensity, and expertise to contribute to the improvement of the domain in which they are situated. For example, a leading teacher is not only teaching in the classroom, but has the ability to contribute to the improvement of teaching. A leading faculty member is a faculty member in a university who has the ability and predisposition to contribute to the improvement of their particular area of scholarship, and to support the development of graduate students and scholars new to the field. Graduate students in CLTs are studying problems and issues of the domain such that they gain the knowledge and expertise to launch a career in the improvement of the domain and therefore, have the potential to become leaders. One of the key outcomes of CLTs, therefore, is the development of a diverse group of people who can become part of “the improvement community” for that domain. It is in this light that we explore NCETE’s accomplishments with respect to the development of leadership.

In this document, we highlight the ways and extent to which NCETE has fostered leaders to shepherd the domain of engineering-infused technology education. We provide an overview of the Center’s various efforts to develop leadership, as well as a range of perspectives on the efficacy of those initiatives. Finally, we review NCETE’s approaches to and activities for developing leadership among its students, faculty, post-doctoral students, and the broader community. The primary audiences for this document are Center leadership and potential funders of future leadership development projects.

See also the report on NCETE’s Review of Research Initiative.

Intended Audience

Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Professional Development Providers, Teachers, Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

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