Leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Collaborations

Robert M Capraro, Royce Avery, James Joseph Scheurich, James Morgan, Rayya Younes, SunYoung Han, Kristin Shawn Huggins

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Project Directors and Leadership in STEM Collaborations examines the impact of project directors on accomplishing the center’s goals and their leadership roles. Importance At the core of a center, is the project director. It is necessary that this individual provide culture, communication, and empowerment to the center focusing on accomplishing the center’s goals (Bass & Avolio, 1994). It is vitally important that the project director clarify and organize the goals by which the center will function. These goals need to address the features within the organization, as well as the expectations of what is to be gained in order for the organization to thrive (Selznick, 1984). To accomplish this, the project director must show transformational leadership. Unlike transactional leadership, which serves to promote performance through a series of reward systems, transformational leadership seeks to provide individualized motivation, the stimulation of intellect, and the questioning of current methods and theories (Hartley & Allison, 2000). This type of leadership seeks to move its followers from a concern of survival, towards a concern of progression, accomplishment, and higher standards. Leadership can be both direct and indirect. Although both are necessary, indirect leadership involves reaching out to those individuals who do not report directly to the project director. This requires that a project director provide leadership and influence to the partners involved with the center (Bass & Avolio, 1994). The project director should be able to engage and encourage participation from all inter-functional teams, in order to create a more cohesive, positive, and empowered center. Conclusions We will share the process and transition of leadership toward a central hub of communication, guidance, and support. A description of the foundational processes set in place to improve the functioning and efficiency of the entire group. In part the strategies employed include developing communication lines between those whose work is instrumental to center functioning and those external to the center. While this may seem to be a trivial task, it is essential that messages be made accessible for various constituent groups such as business and community partners, legislators, school districts administration, and school-site personnel. While each group has common interests, they also have uncommon expectations placed upon them. So it is essential that the center director be able to take a message and make it accessible and valuable to the different groups. Further, various constituent groups have differing levels of commitment to aspects of center productivity. Therefore, the project director must be able to facilitate the work of many different groups who, at times, may feel their work is the most important. Maintaining this balance among groups is essential to the survival of a center. The director provides guidance for individual groups about the progress and plans of other groups to prevent overlap and discontinuity among the center’s many facets. By maintaining an unbiased perspective, the center director can provide support as groups transition between tasks and as work crosses boundaries to include collaborations among center partners.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 08 Apr 201108 Apr 2011


ConferenceAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAERA
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
OtherRoundtable Presentation


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