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Framework for Leadership Skills Development with Experiential Learning: an Example of an Undergraduate Engineering Program

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This paper presents a model of leadership skills development based on educational strategies that have been successfully implemented at Department of Engineering, United States Coast Guard Academy. The approach involves the integration of student learning in the classroom with service learning, community engagements, internships, and extra-curricular activities based on Kolb’s experiential learning. These activities enable students to discover their own styles of leadership, hone the necessary leadership skills, and explore new leadership approaches. Concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation serve as platforms where leadership education develops. This approach to leadership development can serve as an educational model that could be adopted by other academic undergraduate institutions as they strive to develop leaders.

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