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Wednesday, October 15, 2003
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Robe Leadership Institute trains engineering leaders of tomorrow

By Jessica Cyr

The T. Richard and Eleanora K. Robe Leadership Institute prepares students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology to leave Ohio University not only as prepared professionals, but also confident leaders, through a variety of programs, activities and seminars.

Named for its director, Richard Robe, dean emeritus of the college, and his wife, the Institute was founded by the Russ College's Board of Visitors in 1996. Every spring, each academic department nominates their respective engineering students for inclusion in the Institute. After interviewing with Robe, approximately 10 students are accepted. Deemed Robe Leadership Institute Scholars, the students receive a $100 scholarship, a key to the Loehr Resource Center, where a variety of learning materials and resources are available and the chance to participate in the annual Leadership Seminar.

The Leadership Seminar is a four-credit course that takes place during the fall quarter of the scholars' first year with the Institute. During the seminar, students attend events, listen to guest speakers and participate in discussions over dinner with faculty and presenters. The entire quarter is a learning experience, and the speakers and professors are not the only ones doing the educating.

"During the seminar, the students not only learn from the speakers, they learn from each other," Robe said. "We have discussions over dinner about the seminars and students tell me they learned just as much from their fellow students because they gave them a different perspective on what someone said."

Robe believes that the Institute experience is vital to the students' education as an engineer. "The engineering curriculum is largely focused on educating and training competent engineers," he said, "but it's not enough to know how to solve a problem correctly or have the right answer; one has to know how to work with other people to be successful. Our goal is to provide that entire learning experience to our students."

Jessica Cyr is a student writer for University Communications and Marketing

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