June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.90.1 - 12.90.14
A Portfolio of Study Abroad Options for Engineering Students to Gain International Experience
The Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU) has struggled, like many other schools, to get students to participate in study abroad programs. Also at MSU, again similar to many other institutions, the university and college clearly recognize the need for students to better understand and have some experience in the global environment in which they live and will practice engineering.
In order to expose engineering students to skills and experiences that cannot be taught in the classroom alone, and to develop better leaders and communicators with an understanding of the impact engineers have globally in government and industry, the college recently created the Center for Engineering Student Excellence (CESE). Since a key component of CESE is global awareness, the college is striving to offer a variety of study abroad opportunities in order to make it as convenient as possible for engineering students to fit an international experience into their program of study.
The international opportunities are being developed and managed from a portfolio perspective. Elements in the portfolio are meant to address a variety of dimensions, including amount of time abroad, cost, level of structure and supervision, subject matter of the courses (university core curriculum versus engineering courses), location of the courses (Europe, Asia, the Americas), prerequisites and academic level, language requirements, etc. The college currently offers study abroad opportunities of varying durations from a three week intersession or a six week summer session, up to a full semester or year. New courses and programs are being developed to expand the offerings during each of these time periods.
This paper discusses: (1) the current options available to the students as well as those that are being considered or developed, (2) the research we have conducted to better understand the issues, and (3) the evolving strategy the college is using to get as many engineering students as possible some international experience before they graduate. We view the purpose of this paper as a vehicle to share our experiences, as well as a basis for discussion to learn from others and to identify opportunities for collaboration.
Like many other engineering programs, and most undergraduate education programs in the U.S., it is difficult to get engineering students at Mississippi State University (MSU) to study abroad. The Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) at MSU has traditionally provided two primary options for students to study abroad - one semester or academic year through the Global Engineering Education Exchange (Global E3) program or six weeks during the summer in Bristol, England. Typically, less than ten students per year participate in these two programs. This represents only 0.6 percent of the College’s 1700 undergraduate engineering students. While obviously a low participation rate, this is not uncommon. The Commission on the
Reese, D., & Greenwood, A., & Emplaincourt, M. (2007, June), A Portfolio Of Study Abroad Options For Engineering Students To Gain International Experience Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2232
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