The College of Engineering leadership philosophy encourages students to follow this principle: 

In order to best fulfill my potential, and to hone my professional and personal development to truly serve others, I will seek out and nurture opportunities to heighten my capacity as a person and leader who is:

  1. Visionary
  2. Ethical
  3. Engaging
  4. Tactical
  5. Technical
  6. Reflective
Students working on a robot

Source: College of Engineering


A visionary leader:

  • Develops the context for understanding societal needs and opportunities
  • Is able to conceptualize the gap between current and desired state(s)
  • Challenges the status quo with innovative and sustainable ideas
  • Has a facility for translating the external environment to his/her team
  • Is comfortable taking risks, with refined ability to calibrate net impact
  • Recognizes the need for diverse perspectives for highest-level thinking


An ethical leader:

  • Has deep and abiding personal character, with consistent core values
  • Demonstrates a commitment to professionalism in all circumstances
  • Is reliable and unwavering, maintaining a steady influence on others
  • Maintains high expectations for others, without compromise
  • Is compassionate, forgiving, and deeply invested in the development of his/her team(mates)
  • Is able to build, nurture and lead diverse teams, managing conflict constructively and without hesitation


An engaging leader:

  • Possesses the confidence and ego-strength to be a catalyst for others’ success
  • Possesses exceptional formal and informal communication skills
  • Recognizes that the development of human resources is the key to success
  • Is able to inspire, to lead without condescension, and to build trust and mutual respect for and between diverse members of the team
  • Is able to anticipate conflict, and to pro-actively build a team dynamic that creates high-functioning engagement and impact
  • Is celebrative, building on success while remedying team shortcomings

I will seek out and nurture opportunities to heighten my capacity as a person and leader who is visionary, ethical, engaging, tactical, technical, and reflective.

College of Engineering leadership philosophy


A tactical leader:

  • Has the operational savvy to know what it takes to achieve the ultimate vision and the complex goals that undergird that vision
  • Owns the responsibility to create the ideal environment for team and individual impact, consistent with sustainable success
  • Takes personal initiative, as needed, while appropriately delegating to and nurturing others
  • Facilitates deep analytics, systemic thinking, and the ability to distinguish between critical-path issues and manageable barriers to success
  • Creates a  climate for optimal risk-taking, while ensuring quality control
  • Successfully calibrates the magnitude of the task(s) at hand, and the capital, human and other resources necessary for impact


A technical leader:

  • Displays deep technical expertise in core realms of relevance
  • Develops relevant sub-expertise in key adjacent areas critical to success
  • Has the ego strength and intellect to identify, secure, and rely on the necessary expertise and competencies of others
  • Is committed to continually developing the expertise of those within his/her team, embracing the near-term risk inherent in developing a strong and confident team
  • While relying on current foundations of knowledge and industry best-practice, embraces opportunities to innovate and inspire in new frontiers
  • Has the intellect and foresight to reasonable anticipate negative externalities and unintended consequences, and to manage for highest-order net impact


A reflective leader:

  • Sets clear metrics for group and individual success, as well as formal and informal processes for assessment and redirection
  • Exhibits a personal commitment to continuous improvement, and to honest appraisal of and action to improve upon areas for growth
  • Promotes similar self-reflection and self-development of others within the team, prizing the discovery of weakness as a pathway to strength
  • Seeks feedback from and provides feedback to others, both team members and key stakeholders
  • Is ever-mindful of long-term objectives and sustainable impact, prizing ultimate success over short-term gain
  • Invests the time to reflect, to secure objective perspectives, to ponder innovative alternatives, and to redirect without hesitancy or intransigence