The Integrating Effective Team Dynamics in Curriculum initiative at the Georgia Institute of Technology provides students with intentional training for team dynamics and team-building. This program facilitates students’ ability to receive instruction in building teams, communicating on teams, resolving team conflicts, and leading a team within existing team-based projects. In partnership with the institute’s Strategic Plan Advisory Group (SPAG), this project is committed to facilitating best-practices for teamwork for Georgia Tech curricula development and assessment.

Begun in 2016, over 550 Georgia Tech students from all majors so far have participated in this project. Foregrounding their written, oral, and visual communication, participants increase their strategic knowledge as team leaders while contributing to learning outcomes. Far from an ancillary form of service, students participate in substantial team learning projects and assignments in their required courses as an integral part of their academic training. Using the Strengths Finder assessment and leadership activities in the classroom, instructors promote positive group interactions by incorporating team dynamics into their curriculum.

Primary Investigator Dr. Mary Lynn Realff, and her team of trained leadership experts, share a passion and commitment for teaching students to develop team-building and leadership strategies. Not only are these strategies strongly valued by industry, but they are also noted in ABET’s student outcomes, especially, “an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams” (ABET 2016).

Quotes from faculty and students involved in the project:

  • “When I noticed conflicts and brought it up with the students, they used mature language from the team dynamics project to discuss their problems rather than falling into a blame game. Through their responses on CATME, it was very clear they were thinking about the different aspects from team dynamics, especially critical conversations concepts.” Dr. Brettmann, MSE Senior Design


  • “With the online activities, we were able to identify groups having difficulties sooner. The students also seemed to like and appreciate the Strengths Finder assessment and activities. The survey also provided a good catalyst to get the students talking about group dynamics in the initial meeting.” Dr. Martha Grover, CHBE 4012


  • “The process of learning each others’ strengths and making sure that tough conversations were being almost forced as a means to complete an assignment actually helped bring up some of the underlying issues that nobody really wanted to address. Fortunately, my group was open from thereon to having real conversations with each other, where people would be willing to admit being weaker in areas and also being more transparent about how they viewed others’ performances – be it positively for those working hard or displeasure with those who slacked.” Ryan Dwyer, Undergraduate Student


  • “First of all, thank you for your time and dedication to this project that will benefit our students. I firmly believe that the implementation of the Effective Team Dynamics into our curriculum has provided more tools to successfully communicate and resolve internal conflicts within a team. In particular, it was very notorious the impact in groups that initially did not follow this approach and were willing to break up. After a healthy conversation and pointing out which strength each member can bring to the team, each member felt motivated to pursue as a team. I was very delighted that one group was actively working in their report after 30 minutes that Dr. Realff and myself finished the conversation. They saw us and acknowledged by saying ‘Thank you I, we have just figured out our plans for the next reports and are confident that we will be a better group from now”. Needless to say, the outcomes of that ‘challenging’ group improved after that meeting.” Christian Cuba, CHBE 4012 and CHBE 4520/4530