Tag Archive for: Columbia Engineering

In March and April 2024, Logos Institute Senior Fellow Katie Garcia launched two new electives for graduate students at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, also known as Columbia Engineering.

The first elective, Communicating Up: How Get Buy-in and Win the Trust of Your Boss, is focused on how to communicate effectively up-the-chain of command at work.

Effective communication can build a person’s competitive advantage in the workplace, particularly when it comes to communicating with the boss. When we communicate effectively with the boss, we can not only get our big ideas considered, but also earn the boss’s trust. However, when we fail to communicate effectively with the boss, not only will our big ideas never be considered, but we can harm our standing and reputation at work.

In Communicating Up, students learned about the power of communication in the workplace, core principles of effective communication, how to recognize what matters to the boss, and a method for effectively giving advice or presenting an opportunity effectively to the boss.

The second elective, Difficult Conversations in the Workplace, is focused on how to effectively navigate difficult conversations at work.

Difficult conversations are inevitable in our personal and professional lives. However, how we navigate these difficult conversations at work can have a significant impact on our growth and success in our career, as well as on our teams and our workplace overall. Therefore, we need to take these conversations seriously.

In this class, students learned why difficult conversations are so challenging and strategies for overcoming that difficulty. Students also learned what it takes to provoke a change of behavior within people, how structure feedback effectively, and how to effectively prepare for, initiate, and navigate through a difficult conversation.

Both electives were offered to students enrolled in Columbia Engineering’s Professional Development & Leadership (PDL) program. The PDL program’s goal is to enhance the Columbia Engineering education by providing enrichment and development opportunities to undergraduate, MS, and PhD engineering students.

More than 40 graduate engineering students enrolled in the electives Katie taught this semester. Some have already begun apply the lessons learned in these courses and to think through how they could continue to apply these lessons as they build their careers.

Logos Consulting Group is pleased to announce that Logos President Helio Fred Garcia, a member of the Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty, has been promoted from Adjunct Associate Professor to Adjunct (full) Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

Garcia is in his sixth year teaching in the school’s Professional Development and Leadership program. He teaches the required course on Ethics and Integrity for Engineers to all incoming M.S. and PhD students. He also participates in the required first-year undergraduate Art of Engineering course to  provide an introduction to ethical decision-making for undergraduate engineering students.

In the M.S. and PhD programs, Garcia teaches a number of electives, including Crisis Management for Engineers, Crisis Prevention for Engineers, Advanced Ethical Decision-Making, and Advanced Leadership Communication for Engineers. He also teaches once-per-semester workshops on Lessons for Leaders from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Garcia also mentors PhD students.

Additionally, Garcia partners with his fellow Adjunct Professor (and brother) Chuck Garcia to team-teach an online course on Leadership, Followership, and Teamwork. The two brothers also co-lead the school’s PDL Fellows program, where a select number of M.S. students participate in a multi-dimensional enhanced leadership opportunity.

Columbia Engineering’s Professional Development and Leadership (PDL) program was launched in the school’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and has since expanded school-wide for all degree programs. The program’s goal is to enhance the Columbia Engineering education by providing enrichment and development opportunities. The program assists students with in a number of ways, including:

  1. Obtaining skills to find and keep a role
  2. Learning how to grow and cultivate a career
  3. Recognizing effective leadership
  4. Learning to become an effective team player and follower
  5. Cultivating ethical behavior and values

… and striving to have fun while doing these things!

Garcia did his graduate studies at Columbia University in the late 1970s and early 1980s, where he studied ancient Greek philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy. His studies included advanced ethics.

In addition to his faculty position at Columbia University, Garcia has been on the New York University faculty since 1988, where, among other things, he has designed and taught courses on business and communication ethics. He is the author of five books on leadership, trust, and related topics.

On Friday, June 10, 2022, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia delivered a Columbia Engineering Alumni Day lecture on the US response to COVID-19 at the first in-person reunion of graduates of Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Garcia is an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership in the Professional Development and Leadership program at Columbia Engineering. He delivered one of three lectures in the school’s alumni association REUNION 22 LECTURES on-campus event.

In his lecture, Garcia focused on the intersection of crisis response and ethics, and demonstrated how COVID-19 – as a crisis that simultaneously affected every institution and every individual on the planet – provides a useful case study to see the patterns of effective and ineffective crisis response and ethical decision-making. Garcia quoted the Greek philosopher Plato, who noted: “To understand something difficult, study the biggest instance of it that we can. That’s because the patterns are easier to see. And the pattern is then laid up on heaven for anyone who wishes to contemplate it.”

Garcia began his lecture by laying out the foundational principles of effective crisis response:

  1. Show you care.
  2. Take risks seriously.
  3. Work to mitigate those risks early.

He then contrasted the U.S. response to COVID-19, the worst in the industrialized world, and the Republic of Korea response, among the best. Both nations had their first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the same day, January 20, 2020. South Korea followed the principles of effective response and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines; the United States did not. After one year, the South Korean death rate was 1 fatality for every 39,000 South Koreans; the U.S. death rate was 1 fatality for every 809, or a fatality rate 49 times Korea’s.

Garcia also highlighted the ways that misinformation and the modeling of unsafe practices led to hundreds of thousands of preventable COVID deaths. He quoted the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who in May 2022 called misinformation the leading cause of death in the U.S.

You can watch the full lecture here:

At Columbia Engineering, Garcia teaches ethics and integrity for engineers for all incoming undergraduate, MS, and PhD students. He also teaches graduate electives in advanced ethical decision-making, crisis prevention, crisis response, and leadership communication. Garcia is the author of five books, most recently Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. His next book is The Trump Contagion: How Incompetence, Dishonesty, and Neglect Led to the Worst-Handled Crisis in American History.