Course:APSC 461

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Global Engineering Leadership
APSC 461
Section: 001
Instructor: Paul Winkelman
Office Hours:
Class Schedule: T/Th 15:00h-17:30h
Classroom: DMP 101
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Calendar description

Introduction to concepts, theory and practice of engineering leadership. Engineering leadership characteristics; individual and cultural differences, service and management contexts; managing change, conflicts, and crises; real-world ethics and core values.


Engineering students are typically well-prepared with technical knowledge and skills that are prerequisite to solving problems. However, recent changes to the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board recognize that contributions made by engineers to our society also depend upon proficiency in key non-technical areas, both in terms of knowledge and skills. Furthermore, service is a core value for the engineering profession and one that is strongly held and promoted by the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC. The goal of this course is to provide students with leadership education, and engineering service experiences to hone their non-technical skills and enhance the service ethic within their professional development.

Learning Objectives

Through guest lectures, reading, reflections and project work, students will gain a deepened understanding of the inter-connected nature of global challenges and develop a passion for leadership through service. Students successfully completing this course will:

  • Understand the importance of service as a core value in leadership
  • Articulate the role of the engineer in a wide range of projects, social and cultural contexts, and responsibility levels
  • Identify and apply key concepts in leadership theory
  • Be able to carry out systematic mapping of global/technical issues within human, economic, and environmental systems
  • Develop critical thinking skills outside of traditional engineering problems related to entrepreneurial opportunities:
    • Asking important questions
    • Looking at a broad range of issues and options from various perspectives
    • Balancing qualitative assessments with quantitative metrics in evaluation processes and then
    • Considering a broad range of solutions
    • Evaluating the impact of decisions
    • Incorporating sound ethical stances in technical and non-technical decision-making
  • Apply/practise leadership and project management skills:
    • Time management
    • Priority setting
    • Planning and visioning techniques
    • Personnel management
      • Listening skills
      • Negotiation, persuasion and conflict management
      • Coaching and mentoring skills
      • Team-building strategies and techniques
  • Develop inter-cultural communication skills
  • Develop self-assessment skills
  • Enhance integrative thinking


APSC 461 is the first of a two-course series: APSC 461 (3 credits, Technical Elective) is offered on the UBC campus during the Spring Session (May and June). Course material is generally delivered in a classroom environment. Students also participate in a Community Service Learning (CSL) project. Those registered in APSC 461 need not register in APSC 462. APSC 462 (3 credits, Technology in Society credit) is a full time, immersive, hands-on Community Service Learning project practicum offered off-campus over a six- to twelve-week period. This year the course site is in Mexico. Those registered in APSC 462 must also be registered in APSC 461 or have previously completed APSC 461.


Instructor: Dr. Paul Winkelman Department of Mechanical Engineering ICICS 085 604-822-2805

Series Coordinator and APSC 462 Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Croft Department of Mechanical Engineering CEME 2059 604-822-6614

CLS Project Coordinator: Ara Beittoei Officer, Community-Based Experiential Learning, Applied Science

Consulting Support: Dr. Tatiana Teslenko (Senior Instructor, Mechanical Engineering) Kristin Patten, Kerri Leeper (International Service Learning Advisor, GoGlobal)

Course Structure

Course material will be delivered through lectures, workshops, assigned readings and community interaction. Lectures will normally be delivered by guest speakers with demonstrated engineering leadership success recruited from industry, government and academe. Students will form liaisons with community partners as part of their project requirements.


Please visit UBC Course Connect for course syllabus and materials

Global Engineering Leadership Guest Lecturer Series

We are pleased to feature a number of guest speakers as part of the Global Engineering Leadership course series: