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Student leadership program

Summary of ELE program benefits, including course credit, earning a certificate, and working with peers to solve a problem in the community

Emerging Leaders in Engineering

Emerging Leaders in Engineering (ELE) is the College of Engineering’s undergraduate leadership program.

Students who complete the program earn a formal Leadership Certificate from the UW-Madison Center for Leadership and Involvement. The program supports your individual growth, both personally and professionally, to ensure your experience is aligned with your goals.

In the ELE program, you will:

  • Work collaboratively with a team of peers to solve a real-world technical problem in the state of Wisconsin. Your team will determine the goals, objectives, and tasks of this project – all while understanding the unique needs of their community partner.
  • Identify your unique strengths and reflect on what it means to be an inclusive leader.
  • Explore and critically analyze a variety of leadership models while developing your leadership skills.
  • Participate in our young alumni mentor program. Students and mentors work together to create a personal and professional development plan to help guide students as they complete their undergraduate degree, and for life after UW-Madison.

INTEREGR 303: Applied Leadership Competencies in Engineering

An introduction to basic leadership theories and perspectives, with application to real-life experiences through readings, discussion activities, reflections, and an experiential project with local communities. Explore the Social Change Model of Leadership Development, Servant Leadership, and other theories through a critical lens. This course is offered during the fall & spring semesters.

Leadership Certificate

Grow your leadership skills, and earn a certificate! The Emerging Leaders in Engineering program ties directly into the Leadership Certificate, providing recognition to students that get involved. The certificate requirements include civic engagement, organizational or group leadership, and workshops, as well as written reflections. A large portion of the requirements are met by completing InterEGR 303.

Shortanswer: a lot of really cool things!

Longer answer: students in ELE first take InterEGR 303: Applied Leadership Competencies in Engineering. This three credit course completes degree requirements in the College of Engineering while also assisting you in completing a large majority of your required activities in order to receive your certificate. You’ll also be paired with a COE young alumni mentor to assist you in reflecting more deeply on conversations you had in class, as well as experiences you participate in out of class! Your alumni mentor is chosen specifically for you based on your interest areas, both professionally and personally.

The ELE program partners with the Center for Leadership and Involvement (CfLI) to help students receive their leadership certificate. As such, students follow their requirements in order to receive their certificate, while receiving all necessary hours and paperwork in the ELE program.

Students in ELE complete a large portion of these requirements just by taking InterEGR 303. After completing InterEGR 303, students will take between one or two semesters to complete the rest of their requirements. ELE students will work individually with both an engineering leadership consultant and their UW-Madison COE alumni mentor to finish the rest of their necessary hours and paperwork.

Students in InterEGR 303 spend time learning more about leadership development, both personally and as it relates to working with teams of diverse people, to better prepare them for collaborative engineering work. We explore and critically analyze a variety of leadership styles through discussion activities and reflections.

Leadership theory is placed into action through collaborating with different Wisconsin communities to help them solve an issue they’re experiencing. Students are matched and form groups that offer a solution to these problems, while using both their soft and technical skills to best help these communities.

  • Example projects students have taken on in the past:
  • Autonomous Vehicle Planning in Brown County
  • Technical Rescue Team Development
  • Emergency Medical Service Strategic Plan
  • Marathon County Riparian and Wetland Resource Assessment
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Plan for Wausau Metro
  • Marathon County Groundwater Protection Plan
  • Adams-Friendship School District Career Exploration in the K-12 Setting
    …and many more.

By completing all necessary requirements set forth through CfLI! The ELE program will assist you in this process, in part by integrating many requirements into InterEGR 303. In this course, you will complete the following requirements (and will receive course credit for doing so):

  • All Civic Engagement hours
  • All online modules
  • Academic course requirement
  • Reflection partner work
  • Competency essay

This then leaves students to complete the following requirements:

  • Organizational/Group Leadership hours: You may have already completed some of these hours before coming into the program. Examples of this experience would be participating in a student organization, going on a co-op or internship, or having a job while a student at UW-Madison. If you plan on participating in any of these activities in the future, know that they will count towards your certificate requirements.
  • Training and Workshop hours: These hours are done in the ELE program after you’ve completed InterEGR 303. Some students come into the program with hours, but many don’t. The ELE program has a leadership retreat in the spring that students can participate in to accomplish many of these hours (and it’s fun, too!). Additionally, we host trainings throughout the semester(s) you are finishing your certificate in order to complete this requirement.
  • Leadership for Change Capstone: The Leadership for Change Capstone is your opportunity to implement change in your community around you. Near the end of InterEGR 303 students will be asked to create a plan to enact change in their community. Your leadership consultant and alumni mentor will work with you in the semesters following taking InterEGR 303 to figure out what kind of change you’d like to make, and ways we can actually implement these changes!

The time commitment may vary. We encourage students to set a pace that works for them. So to a certain extent you determine what your time commitment will look like.

The program lasts between 2-4 semesters, depending on the rate with which you complete the requirements. Most students complete ~80% of their requirements simply by being involved (either in student orgs, a co-op/internship, or working while in school) and taking InterEGR 303 after their first semester. InterEGR 303 is a three credit course, which meets twice per week and has reading and reflection assignments, as well as a semester-long project.

Depending on how involved you are while a student at UW (through student orgs, co-ops or internships, jobs, etc.), you will be coming into the program with hours already completed towards your leadership certificate. Students who enroll into the program with these experiences and complete InterEGR 303 usually have a minimal amount of work remaining to complete their certificate.

If you’re entering into the program with little prior involvement experiences, that’s OK! Students in this category typically get involved while taking InterEGR 303 in some way, and complete their certificate at a pace that feels good for them–usually graduating either in 1-2 semesters after InterEGR 303

Yes, it counts towards degree requirements in the following majors:

Electrical & Computer Engineering: Professional Electives

Chemical Engineering: Professional Breadth Elective

Materials Science & Engineering: Free Electives

Industrial & Systems Engineering: Professional Electives

Mechanical Engineering: Technical Elective

Geological Engineering: Ethics & Professionalism Requirement

Civil and Environmental Engineering: Applied Engineering Credit

Biological Systems Engineering: Technical Elective

Biomedical Engineering: Free Electives

Leadership: While leadership experience is always helpful, it’s by no means necessary. Students come into this program with a wide range of experiences. All are welcome!

Engineering: This program is for anyone who has declared (or intends to declare) an engineering degree: no engineering experience required!

If you are interested in participating in ELE, you must first enroll in InterEGR 303. Any student headed into the second semester of their first year or later can participate in ELE.

If you have questions about the Emerging Leaders Program, please contact Angela Kita.