Leadership Program was established at Cooper Union with Outward
Bound®, in order to give participants skills to be effective
leaders, and also to address issues facing women and minorities
in engineering. The workshop was developed to give Gateway Coalition
schools the basic knowledge to integrate the Leadership and
Women in Engineering Program into their respective institutions.
|| In the
workshop, participants were exposed to many different challenges
over the span of the program, and learned to work in groups.
The objective of the program was to give participants the opportunity
to develop skills necessary to become effective leaders in a
diverse society. They learned to listen to all opinions in the
group, and were made more aware of their surroundings. Participants
were of both the male and female gender, but the traditional
engineering academic male/female ratio was reversed. In other
words, each group consisted of 70% female and 30% male. A non-threatening
environment was cultivated where participants felt comfortable
and learned. The issue of women in engineering was not “forced”
on the groups, but it is our experience that it is raised on
its own. From anecdotal evidence, the program has been shown
to give students more confidence back in the classroom. The
students report, and faculty have witnessed, that the effects
of the program last well beyond the four days. Students become
more confident, which lasts throughout their education.
In the summer
of 1997, a remarkable group of women from the Gateway schools came
to Cooper Union to experience, over four days, many of our new teaching
and learning methods, including Outward Bound, communications, and
entrepreneurship. Some of these women have introduced what they
learned into their activities on their home campuses.