Program Directors Win Education Award for Engineering Leadership Graduate Program
Shawn Wasserman posted on January 19, 2015 |

Simon Pitts and Michael B. Silevitch have won the 2015 Bernard M. Gordon Education Prize for their work on Northeastern University’s Gordon Engineering Leadership (GEL) graduate program. They created this program to offer graduate engineers the skills they need to become effective leaders in engineering.

The GEL graduate program is built to hone the leadership skills of engineers. The program’s curriculum is centered on leadership skills, leadership experiments, product development, science and a challenge project.

Students in the GEL program usually have three to five years under their belt before they start the GEL program. This experience helps to ensure they put together a group of students with the rich base needed for advanced team learning exercises and discussions.

Prof. Michael B Silevitch is the creator and initial director of the GEL program. He now acts as the students’ lead mentor within the program. A pillar of the program is its “three-way mentoring.” This mentoring program links each student to a program mentor, industry mentor and academic skills mentor. Silevitch is the driving force behind three-way mentoring, which is designed to improve leadership skills as mentors evaluate each student’s progress.

Simon Pitts is the current director of the GEL program. He has gathered a collection of engineers from various universities to share their best practices for leadership development. Pitts has previously worked as a Sr. Executive at Ford. While at Ford, Pitts realized that diversified backgrounds were key to successful team leadership. As a result, the GEL program has grown significantly thanks to Pitts’ ability to bridge relationships between students and industry.

NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. said, “I am pleased to recognize the 2015 Gordon Prize recipients and Northeastern University for their program dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of engineering leaders who will shape our world.”

The Gordon Prize was created in 2001 as a biennial prize awarded for education experiments and new methods that improve the leadership of engineers and benefit society. As of 2003, the award has been issued annually to encourage more evolution in engineering curriculums. The $500,000 award will be presented this spring at Northeastern University.

Source National Academy of Engineering.

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