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Achieving Global Competence: Are Our Freshmen Already There?

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 7

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Paper Authors


Larry J. Shuman University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Larry J. Shuman is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Distinguished Service Professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on improving the
engineering education experience with an emphasis on assessment of design and problem solving, and the study of the ethical behavior of engineers and engineering managers. A former Senior Editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, Shuman is the Founding Editor of Advances in Engineering Education. He has published widely in engineering education literature, and is co-author of Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle (Cambridge University Press). He received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in Operations Research and a B.S.E.E. from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Shuman is an ASEE Fellow.

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Renee M. Clark University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Renee Clark has 23 years of experience as an engineer and analyst. She currently serves as the Director of Assessment for the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and its Engineering Education Research Center (EERC), where her research focuses on assessment and evaluation of engineering education research projects and initiatives. She has most recently worked for Walgreens as a Sr. Data Analyst and General Motors/Delphi Automotive as a Sr. Applications Programmer and Manufacturing Quality Engineer. She received her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western while working for Delphi. She completed her postdoctoral studies in engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Clark has published articles in the Journal of Engineering Education, Advances in Engineering Education, and Risk Analysis.

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Scott Duplicate Streiner University of Pittsburgh

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Scott C. Streiner is a full-time doctoral candidate in the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. He conducts research in the field of globalized engineering, including studying offerings in international engineering education, and the extent to which these experiences improve global preparedness of engineering students. Currently, Streiner’s research focus is on how best to operationalize and evaluate global strategies within the engineering curriculum.

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Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Mary Besterfield-Sacre is an Associate Professor and Fulton C. Noss Faculty Fellow in Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the Director for the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) in the Swanson School of Engineering, and serves as a Center Associate for the Learning Research and Development Center. Her principal research is in engineering education assessment, which has been funded by the NSF, Department of Ed, Sloan, EIF, and NCIIA. Dr. Sacre’s current research focuses on three distinct but highly correlated areas – innovative design and entrepreneurship, engineering modeling, and global competency in engineering. She is currently associate editor for the AEE Journal.

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Session Choices: 1. Comparison and Assessment of Various Study Abroad Models in Achieving Global Competencies 2. Cross cultural diversity

Universities are challenged to graduate students who are globally competent/prepared or have a global perspective. But how to measure this? As part of a much larger study of the effectiveness of various forms of international experiences, we have used a comprehensive instrument to survey our incoming engineering students relative to their demographics, global experiences, and global perspectives. To do this we have incorporated the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), a nationally normed instrument that measures students’ global learning and development. Specifically, the GPI’s three components measure how a student thinks (i.e., cognitive domain); how a student views him/herself as an individual with a cultural heritage (i.e., Intrapersonal domain); and how a student relates to people from other cultures, backgrounds, and values (i.e., Interpersonal domain). We have done this to better understand the level of global preparedness of our incoming freshmen, and particularly, how this is influenced by their demographic factors and experiences prior to entering college. In this paper we present our findings and provide recommendation for engineering faculty, including how to better identify/target those students who may enter with relatively low levels of global “competence,” as well as those at the higher end. For example, findings to date suggest that a large number of students enter the university with a relatively high level of global preparedness/competence. We found that over two-thirds of entering students had a passport (i.e., an indication of global travel). Perhaps not surprising, the Interpersonal interaction (Social Interaction dimension) of the GPI was associated with the largest number of significant differences across the various factors. While students from suburban areas tended to have the highest GPI levels for this dimension, this was also true for students from rural areas and small towns if one or more parents had an advanced degree. We also found a somewhat more disproportionately high number of female students were among those with the highest social interaction dimension of the GPI. Likewise, a disproportionate high number of foreign born students were in that same population, (although the number of foreign born students was quite low). In contrast, 94% of the low scores were born in the U.S. along with their parents and at least one grandparent. We are finding other trends in our data that coincide with our experience and intuition related to students' global competency, which will be fully addressed in the paper and presentation.

Shuman, L. J., & Clark, R. M., & Streiner, S. D., & Besterfield-Sacre, M. E. (2016, June), Achieving Global Competence: Are Our Freshmen Already There? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26505

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