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Academic Preparation for the Global Engineer

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Making Students Aware of Their World: Five Perspectives

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

22.131.1 - 22.131.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17412

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean, he has acquired funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development with effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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Warren R. Hull Louisiana State University

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Warren Hull is the Engineering Communication Studio Manager at Louisiana State University. He earned a baccalaureate in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University and master’s degree in Environmental Health from Harvard University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 40 years engineering experience. Prior to joining LSU he was an engineering consultant who managed numerous domestic and international projects. He is also a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel.

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David Bowles Louisiana State University

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David (Boz) Bowles is a Technical Communication Instructor in the Engineering Communication Studio at Louisiana State University. He earned a baccalaureate degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Sarah Liggett Louisiana State University

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Sarah Liggett is a Professor of English and the Director of Communication Across the Curriculum a Louisiana State University. She has published articles and books on professional and technical writing and on preparing college teachers to teach written communication.

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Stephen O. Sears Louisiana State University

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Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering

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Abstract

Academic Preparation for the Global EngineerOur university is located in a region where petrochemical industries are the major employer ofour engineering graduates. Since many of these manufacturing and/or processing facilities areowned by large muli-national corporations, engineers aspiring for advancement in thesecompanies must possess a skill set that assures success in a more global economic setting. Inorder to assess our responsiveness to the preparation of this “global engineer,” we sought to drawfrom a variety of sources: recent publications on this topic, and opinion sampling of both seniorengineers and aspiring junior engineers in typical multi-national companies.In published works, we found many proponents of global-engineer preparation who contend thatinitiatives considered non-traditional in engineering education are necessary for ensuring success.Among the often cited initiatives are requirements for mastery of a foreign language, a study abroadexperience, and increased cultural sensitivity through more humanities courses. Although we generallyagree that these are each worthwhile goals, we examined the more pragmatic aspects each and found eachto have limitations that call into question its application.Our initial informal sampling of engineers in the global engineer setting did not support the threeinitiatives cited in our publications review. Indeed, we found a much different perspective that promptedus to use a more formal survey to assess their opinions on what skills are needed for the success of theglobal engineer. We are aware of the ASEE initiative that recently launched a comprehensive survey ofengineers in several languages to identify the skills and experiences that today’s engineers will require tocompete in the global workforce. However, our survey goal was more focused on the relevance for theglobal engineer of current and proposed curriculum changes. We report these findings and contrast themto the recommendations produced by our publications review.We also introduce our initiatives to incorporate communication skills into the engineering curriculum andto enhance teamwork skills at multiple levels of the curriculum. We conclude that resource and practicallimitations make mastery of a foreign language, study abroad, and additional humanities courses difficultto achieve for most engineering programs. We also conclude that focusing on our current initiatives tostrengthen communication and teamwork skills produces more cost effective results for a widerengineering student population than fundamental changes to the existing curriculum.

Waggenspack, W. N., & Hull, W. R., & Bowles, D., & Liggett, S., & Sears, S. O. (2011, June), Academic Preparation for the Global Engineer Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17412

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