Building Effective Teams and Teamwork Skills


  • Sandra Pettit University of Alabama
  • Clifford Henderson University of Alabama



Development of team skills is vital to becoming a successful and productive engineer.  To prepare students for successful team-based work, they need a basic understanding of the organizational psychology underpinning teamwork and an introduction to tools and techniques to develop and sustain team effectiveness.

The goal of this paper is to introduce faculty to strategies, techniques, and tools that can be utilized to build teamwork skills during team-based assignments and projects.  The paper will summarize the most relevant and useful tools for technical teams while also providing suggested resources and readings for advanced content.  The content is tailored based upon the needs of chemical engineering faculty in laboratory and project and product design courses.  The tools provided will not only aid in the execution of the course, they will prepare students to tackle a variety of team-based opportunities.

Author Biographies

Sandra Pettit, University of Alabama

Sandra L. Pettit, PhD, PE is the Assistant Dean for Student Success in the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama. Previously, as a Professor of Instruction in chemical engineering at the University of South Florida, she taught team-based senior engineering courses with integrated professional development for several years. Prior to joining academia, her industrial experience included over 15 years of team management in manufacturing, plant design, and construction. 

Clifford Henderson, University of Alabama

Clifford L. Henderson, PhD, is the Dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama and a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. In his current and prior roles (faculty at Georgia Tech and Department Chair at USF) he has been heavily involved in advancing engineering curricular innovation and engineering pedagogical innovation.





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