Skip to content

DM 872 – Engineering Leadership

Course Leader: Don Uffen, Western Engineering

Course Outline

The design and manufacturing industry is looking for graduating engineers whose expertise goes beyond their technical training and includes dependability, resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, empathy, strategic thinking, organizational skills, communication skills, teamwork skills, and leadership. Engineering leadership is a force multiplier. For individuals, engineering leadership helps them to get the job done. Any engineering activity, however small, requires determining the requirements and working effectively with a team possessing disparate skills to overcome obstacles and get the job done. This requires character, communication, teamwork, and implementation skills. For society, engineering leadership supplements the rigorous design expertise and problem-solving ability taught in engineering classes with the leadership skills that are necessary to determine and satisfy market needs and then to recruit, motivate and inspire teams of people to develop products and processes that will have an impact in the world.

Course Objectives

Participants who successfully complete this course should:

  • leverage their managerial skills in to engineering leadership skills
  • understand their own leadership skills and opportunities for development better
  • be able to identify pathways to improve their employees’ effectiveness
  • give constructive criticism and incorporate it in to their own work habits
  • become more effective at leading teams and organizational units

Activities and Schedule

This course will involve a variety of learning styles including small and large group discussions, short lectures, readings, videos, as well as individual and team assignments. Material for discussion will be drawn from exercises, case studies, and articles as well as participants’ experience. Module 1 will build awareness of one’s own leadership skills and to introduce and enhance methods for leading teams. Module 2 will apply these lessons to common leadership challenges, such as change management and leading in complex environments.

Prior to Module 1

  • Leaders Character Insight Assessment

Module 1

  • What is Leadership? And How is it different than Management?
  • Leadership and Social Styles
  • Personality Types
  • Leader Character
  • Character and Decision Making
  • Crisis Leadership

Between Modules

  • Individual projects

Module 2

  • Effective Change Leadership
  • Improving Team Effectiveness & Collaboration
  • Managing Individual Performance
  • Creating and Communicating Vision

Course Evaluation

  • 40% in class contribution
  • 20% Individual Report (due before Module 2): leadership self-assessment and reflection. Through the use of at least two assessment tools, evaluate your own leadership in two situations, one where you were mostly successful and one where significant challenges resulted.
  • 40% Individual Report (due after Module 2): Application of Leadership Principles. This could be applied (ideally) to a work situation or other practical community scenario.

Recommended Reading

To be specified after course posting

Biography of Course Instructor

Don Uffen

Don Uffen is a lecturer at Western Engineering and Director of the Integrated Engineering program. Previously he was a senior engineering leader at General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada. Throughout a 30-year career in Aerospace and Heavy Vehicle engineering, he’s worked for small, medium and large companies and been involved in the full range of research, product development, production and support roles. He’s led teams of 5 to 75 and worked with people of all stripes and capabilities.

Don has taught Engineering Leadership in Western Engineering’s Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation since 2015. Don values the opportunity to guide students to the understanding that leadership is an avocation that requires self-knowledge and commitment and a complex set of skills that can be learned but that must be practiced daily. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science and a Master of Applied Science at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.