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Teaching leadership skills: A case study in active-learning pedagogy

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Abstract

The importance of teaching leadership in curricula of Architecture is resurfacing. The past decade, topics in required Professional Practice coursework highlighted issues of ethics, of collaborators and environmental medics, and of managing business acumen. This change in venue may draw from the "new BIM Technology Field" of the Construction Industry at large: someone needs to lead. Unfortunately, the majority of architectural students and their faculty lack training in leadership as they have been focusing in on communication skills, practice (project process and economics), business practice and management, and laws and regulations. The objectives of the present study are: to develop a student-centered active learning approach to teaching leadership skills in the undergraduate and graduate Architecture program, and to assess the effectiveness of the approach on student learning outcomes. First, this paper describes in detail each of the active learning activities: the "big picture" discussion, and the exercises and follow-up reflections. Representative examples from student work are provided. The author of this article has an extensive collection of other institutions' relevant and "best practices" classwork prototypes. These experiences provide insight to incorporating leadership agendas into assignments. Next, the paper will describe how assessments were performed and provide a summary of the results. Lastly, conclusions on teaching leadership in this new age and lessons learned from the on-going study are discussed.

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