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Cornell Engineering launches leadership program

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Erica Dawson Ph.D. ’04 will become the college’s first director of Engineering Leadership.

The College of Engineering is launching a new undergraduate leadership program with a recent anonymous gift of $700,000 from an alumnus.

Erica Dawson Ph.D. ’04 will become the college’s first director of Engineering Leadership on May 1, 2012. She is currently director of the Program on Organizational and Executive Ethics at the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dawson previously was assistant professor at the Yale School of Management and was a visiting faculty member at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Dawson is charged with creating and implementing a program to enhance the education of engineering students. The goal is to provide opportunities for students to develop the knowledge and skills that will accelerate their growth as creative leaders and mentors. “This is an exciting and powerful opportunity to impact future leaders of industry, technology and academia,” said Dawson, who has been instrumental in developing leadership programs in several of her recently held positions.

"Many Cornell engineering students will quickly assume leadership roles in their careers—managing projects, leading work groups, some starting companies, and others pursuing advanced degrees in engineering or other professional training. Most have previous experience as leaders in their schools and communities, but few have had structured education and training in leadership development," said Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering. "We are delighted to have Dr. Dawson lead this new venture. Her experience in teaching, research and consulting in various areas of leadership development make her a great fit for this position. I am confident that the program, under her direction, will provide the necessary training to help students realize their potential as effective leaders and engineers."

Dawson will work closely with the college’s Leadership Advisory Committee, which worked for more than a year to outline the new program, develop strategic direction and engage in a national search for the Director. She will collaborate with other colleges and schools at the university to enhance, integrate and leverage leadership programs offered across campus. She will work with engineering faculty to incorporate leadership education into existing courses and de­velop relationships with industry partners who will participate in the delivery of programs.

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