College of Engineering News Room


The USF Engineering Student Council — or USF Engineering E-Council — is a strong example of the growing College of Engineering leadership programs created under Dean Robert Bishop.

Former E-Council Chair David Williams and E-Council Chair Curtis Gaskins

Former USF Engineering Student Council Chair David Williams (left) and current E-Council Chair Curtis Gaskins (right) take a photo outside the 2019 National Association of Engineering Student Councils Engineering Leadership Summit at Colorado State University.

Since arriving at the College of Engineering in 2014, Dean Robert Bishop created several leadership programs for students designed to give them an opportunity to hone their leadership talents and team-building skills.

The USF Engineering Student Council, for example, was formed in 2015 and was recently accepted as a member of the National Association of Engineering Student Councils (NAESC).

“The structure of E-Council provides each student organization with representation on the council,” Bishop said. “Funding requests to student government are streamlined into one request for all engineering student organizations. It’s effective and it’s efficient – the hallmark of great engineering.”

The NAESC’s goals include advocating for engineering students and schools across the nation, collaborating with councils to learn how to serve students and developing students’ skills to become well-rounded engineers.

The NAESC held a national leadership summit in Boulder, Colorado, and former E-Council Chair David Williams and current Chair Curtis Gaskins both attended as the only officers from a Florida engineering student council to attend the summit.

“The NAESC Engineering Leadership Summit gave me a very good insight into what the engineering council at USF could be and best practices of how other engineering councils are structured,” Williams said. “Currently, Engineering Council at USF is a funding council but it’s my vision to see it move into more of a programming organization enabling students to form bonds.”

Support from College of Engineering faculty and USF leadership was instrumental in the success of E-Council, which is recognized by USF Student Government as a council with a single voting bloc. Engineering students are very active in student government, and there are currently seven engineering students serving in the USF Senate.

The NAESC Engineering Leadership Summit is a highly-anticipated, two-day national conference meant to prepare high-achieving student leaders for their future in both engineering and leadership. Each year, this conference emphasizes a collaborative approach to communication, comprehensive professional development and modern leadership with integrity. During the conference, participants have an opportunity to learn professional skills from industry representatives, attend salient skill sessions and exchange innovative solutions to mutual challenges at our respective universities. The USF E-Council plans to attend the upcoming NAESC Southeast conference this fall.

"At the NAESC conference, we met different e-councils across the United States who gave us their perspectives on how they ran their e-councils,” Gaskins said. “USF E-Council is looking to broaden its vision next year. While allocating money for engineering student organizations, we also want to serve these engineering student organizations and the engineering community here at USF."

E-Council recently held executive board elections and is making changes to its leadership structure and responsibilities to better serve engineering student organizations. USF Dean of Engineering Executive Assistant Carol Marrero-Pláceres said Gaskins is already working on developing leadership training for both E-Council board members and various presidents of engineering student organizations.

“Curtis and the rest of the new board have already shown great commitment to carry on with the extraordinary efforts by David Williams, E-Council Chair for the 2018-2019 school year,” Marrero-Pláceres said. “I’m excited to continue working with the Engineering Student Council as it remains focus on striving for excellence.”

In addition to E-Council, Bishop was also instrumental in establishing Bulls L.E.A.D., a program designed to develop a high level of leadership skills in engineering students. Along with Sanjukta Bhanja, associate dean of academics, Bishop established the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program, a combined curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular program with five competencies that are designed to prepare the next generation of students for addressing the grand challenges facing society in the 21st century.