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

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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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Nearly all published literature on grant proposal writing focuses on suggesting best practices for, or providing general guidance on, grant proposal writing (i.e., what a grant writer should do and should not do), rather than on pedagogy (i.e., how to teach grant proposal writing). To fill this gap, a student-centered active learning approach to teaching grant proposal writing is developed in the present study. This approach combines three types of active learning activities: thinkpair- share discussions and reflections, mock panel review, and student development of a full proposal. This approach was implemented and assessed in a grant proposal writing course in a Ph.D. in Engineering Education program at Utah State University. Questionnaire surveys were administered in two semesters to assess the effectiveness of this approach. The results show that, on a 5-point Likert-type scale with 1 representing the least effective and 5 representing the most effective, the mean scores of student responses are more than 4.00 for all three types of active learning activities. The mean scores on ''student development of a full proposal'' activities are the two highest mean scores in both semesters: 4.71 in one semester and 4.63 in another semester. This implies that the most effective method for students to learn how to develop grant proposals is learning by doing, i.e., each student develops a proposal of his/her own.