College of Engineering Assistant Professor to Embark on Leadership Journey

University Relations

Eric Specking

Eric Specking, assistant dean of enrollment and retention in the College of Engineering, has been selected to participate in the INCOSE Technical Leadership Institute.

Specking received a BS in computer engineering, an MS in industrial engineering and a Ph.D. in engineering from the U of A. His research interests include decision quality, resilient design, set-based design, engineering and project management, and engineering education. He teaches courses in the Department of Industrial Engineering in addition to his duties with the college.

He is an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education, International Council on Systems Engineering and Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, where he has served in various leadership positions.

Selection committee member David Long said the committee believes Specking has the capability to be an excellent leader and is excited to work with him to achieve that goal.

“The institute seeks to accelerate the development of systems engineering leaders who will exemplify the best of our organization and our profession,” he said.

In his nomination letter, Greg Parnell, director of the master’s programs in operations management and engineering management and professor of practice, said, “Eric has used strategic thinking to support the college’s vision to ‘Pursue excellence in research, scholarship and education, ensuring personal and professional growth for future generations of engineering leaders who will stimulate prosperity for Arkansas, the nation and the world.'”

Parnell continued, “He has also collaborated with senior systems engineering faculty at four other universities, helping me mentor the students on their research projects. Since 2013, he has been a co-author on 12 refereed papers, 10 book chapters and 15 technical reports .”

Ed Pohl, department head of industrial engineering, echoed Parnell’s assessment of specking.

“Eric is creative and innovative as demonstrated by his previous role as the chief operating officer for a local start-up company. He has learned to bridge the gap between engineering and business in this role. His technical skills, eagerness and maturity make him a solid candidate for this leadership program,” he said.

Specking shared his vision for the future after this learning opportunity.

“The formal leadership education provided during the program, while working in a leadership position, will enable me to directly apply what I learn during the program and help me become a better leader for my team, the University of Arkansas and the organizations I serve. Additionally, I know the experience will help me become a more effective member and leader within INCOSE.

About the Institute for Technical Leadership: Established in 2015, the Institute for Technical Leadership is a global network of INCOSE members committed to improving technical leadership skills to better address the complex sociotechnical challenges of the twenty-first century. Following nomination by an INCOSE leader, participants embark on a two-year learning journey designed to increase their self-awareness, improve their understanding of complexity and provide experience in leading through influence in the presence of ambiguity and uncertainty. Along the way, coaching and mentoring help them maximize the benefits derived from their experiences. Upon completion of the program, participants are inducted as full members of the TLI, after which they continue their journey, learning from and with each other, and making their own contributions as members of a vibrant, diverse and growing network for the benefit of their organizations, INCOSE and the world at large.

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