Servant Leadership

Suzanne & Richard Pieper Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Servant Leadership

The Suzanne & Richard Pieper Family Foundation established an endowed chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering (CoE) in 2008. The Servant Leadership Chair helps prepare future leaders in their chosen fields to live lives of service to others by teaching and exemplifying character and moral values. Their examples and actions lift society, enrich organizations and communities, and positively impact the least privileged.

The Servant Leadership Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, CEE professor Greg Harrington, works to develop a culture of leadership in the Badger engineering student community.

To deepen and further servant leader ideas and values, the chair will do the following:

  • Enhance the service learning of CoE students by example.
  • Create a body of knowledge and/or a curriculum that shows how character is learned and transmitted that further extends the values and better understands the outcomes of servant leadership. This body of knowledge should underline the universal aspects of moral values.
  • Engage the service-learning model developed at the University to promote character building in schools K-12.
  • Create a dynamic environment to nurture future leaders at the University.

View the 2020 Servant Leadership Annual Report

Leadership Development & Student Organizations

The UW-Madison College of Engineering encourages and supports its students in the exploration and development of servant leadership skills through programs, courses, and student organizations including:

Emerging Leaders in Engineering – Develop your professional skills and earn a leadership certificate through a mix of self-discovery and group work that improves Wisconsin communities. Successful completion of the INTEREGR 303: Applied Leadership Competencies in Engineering course is the first step in pursuing this opportunity and the resulting leadership certificate. To learn more or enroll, contact Paige LaPoint, Director of Student Organizations and Leadership Development for the College of Engineering.

INTEREGR 303: Applied Leadership Competencies in Engineering – An introduction to basic leadership theories and perspectives, with application to real-life experiences (both engineering and otherwise) through reflections, course discussion, readings, and experiential education in local communities. Explore the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and Servant Leadership theory through a critical lens. This course is offered during the fall semester.

The College of Engineering also has numerous student organizations that provide leadership opportunities. Some of these organizations lead service-learning or community outreach projects that “lift up society, enrich organizations and communities, and have a positive effect on the least privileged.” These projects align with the Pieper Family Foundation belief that human goodness is not simply innate; it requires action and service to others; and that character is inspired and facilitated in cultures, organizations, and families by and through the example of enlightened leadership. Student organizations that have led such projects include:

Engineers Without Borders – The UW-Madison Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter builds a better world by educating internationally-responsible engineers and students. The group strives to embody the Wisconsin Idea–that education should influence people’s lives beyond the classroom–by providing engineering and social services in Wisconsin and in under-served communities around the globe. The chapter currently works in Pericón Chuacorral Sector II, Guatemala; Tabuga, Ecuador; Lweza, Uganda; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) – This organization empowers women to succeed and advance in their aspirations to be engineers and leaders by:

  • informing young women, their parents, counselors, and the general public, of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them
  • assisting women in readying themselves for a return to active work after a temporary leave of absence or retirement
  • serving as a center of information on women in engineering
  • encouraging women engineers to attain high levels of education and professional achievement

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) – This organization’s mission is to “change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development.”  Networking, resume building, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities are core offerings of this organization, which brings together Hispanic STEM students from across the nation.

Learn more about servant leadership opportunities at UW-Madison and the Pieper Family Foundation.

Badger Engineers at the Illini Union in Champaign, Illinois during the 2014 LeaderShape Institute.