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A Case for Student Led Global Learning

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2013 ASEE International Forum


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Track 1 - Session II - Student Development

Tagged Topic

Student Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

21.1.1 - 21.1.8



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Paper Authors


Robert O. Warrington Jr. Michigan Technological University

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Director, Institute for Leadership and Innovation, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Dean at Michigan Tech from 1996-2007.

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Madelyn Marie Espinosa Michigan Technological University - Pavlis Institute

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Helena Keller Michigan Technological University

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A Case for Student Led Global LearningMichigan Technological University’s Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership wasinitiated in 2005 to provide MTU students with international leadership skills throughcoursework and a student-led intensive international experience. The Pavlis certificate programrequires 25 semester hours of coursework with 13 semesters in the summer (nine hours areallocated to the five week in country experience) between the student’s junior and senior years.The additional hours are focused on preparing them to lead, work, and communicate effectivelywith one another and with their in-country contacts. The major differences between the Pavlisprogram and other intensive programs that prepare global engineers are threefold: 1. The Pavlis teams (typically 4-8 students) are multidisciplinary, approximately 70% engineers and science majors, with a few other majors from social science, business, and other disciplines. 2. The students work on multiple technology projects while in-country, some are ongoing from previous years and some are new. The students also check on completed projects for sustainability and identify future projects for the next cohort traveling to the project center. 3. The in-country teams are student led, a faculty member spends 1-3 days at the start of the experience for orientation and introductions and then leaves. A local person is “employed” by the university to be 24/7 contact for the student’s in case of emergencies and to facilitate some contacts.It is apparently this last difference that has made all the difference in the learning outcomes fromthe students that have completed the program.The current project centers for the Pavlis program include Chennai, India, Sunyani, Ghana, andMalta. Typical projects include K-12 technical instruction and demonstrations, remote powerinstallations (solar, Lister engine), clean water, and a retrofitted mobile health clinic that will bedelivered and tested in Ghana this summer. The outcomes assessment from the graduates fromthe program indicate that the project content and project center location are much less importantthan the experience itself and the fact that they are in charge and responsible. Students reportthat the international experience leaves them with a greater sense of self-confidence and selfawareness that has made a profound impact on their career choices and lives. Although hard todocument, learning outcome comparisons will be made with more traditional internationalengineering experiences at Michigan Tech, including our International Senior Design programwhich is faculty led. The Pavlis Institute’s unique student-led international experience providesstudents with the opportunity to practice their leadership, engineering problem-solving, andcommunication skills in an international context.

Warrington, R. O., & Espinosa, M. M., & Keller, H. (2013, June), A Case for Student Led Global Learning Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--17206

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