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An International Industrial Outreach Program In Engineering Education: The Cultural Impact

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

International Engineering Education I

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.215.1 - 8.215.8



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Paper Authors

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Ernest Goeres

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Elisabeth Sanchez

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Alejandro Lozano

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Victor Mucino

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session No. _____

An International Industrial Outreach Program in Engineering Education: The Cultural Impact

Elisabeth Sanchez1, Ernest Goeres2, Victor H. Mucino3/ Alejandro Lozano4 West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV/ CONCyTEQ, Queretaro, Mexico


There is more to engineering education than science and technology; there is more that is beyond the textbooks, the classrooms and the laboratories; there is more that relates to the cultures of the professional worlds in which graduates aim to work. It relates to the gap between the competitive professional world and the protective world of academia, something that has to do with the human dimension, the cultural baggage and with the need for lifelong learning skills required to maintain competitiveness in all fronts. For the past six years, a program developed by West Virginia University in collaboration with universities and industry from Queretaro, Mexico has been addressing many of issues cited above in the context of an experiential exercise. Each year, the program takes place during six weeks of the summer session, in which students and faculty from West Virginia travel to Mexico to join a similar team of Mexican students, faculty plus industrial liaisons to work as a team, despite language and cultural differences. A challenging industrial project (or problem) is posed to each team with a tight schedule and under budgetary constraints. The pressure of reaching the objectives on time, the biicultural environment and the team- mentality philosophy of the program bring the cultural differences and personalities of the participants to the forefront. The experience is as much an engineering educational experience, as it is a cultural immersion as well as a “self-discovery” journey for all involved. A fundamental premise for this program is that all involved draw a benefit from this activity. This experience has brought forward not only the practical engineering dimension (from industry), but also the human dimension that comes with the individual participants. The educational implications of this Program are indeed far reaching. The West Virginia/Queretaro experience is a “customer-supplier” model between academia and industry, which can be expanded and replicated in other areas of professional endeavor in a shrinking global and competitive professional context.


It has been acknowledged that academia and industry in general possess very different cultures. Academia is by nature conservative, traditionalist and individualistic, while industry is progressive, 1 Doctoral Student, Educational Leadership Studies, West Virginia University, USA 2 Professor, Advance Educational Studies, West Virginia University, USA 3 Proefssor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University, USA 4 Director, Council for Science and Technology of Queretaro (CONCyTEQ), Mexico

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Goeres, E., & Sanchez, E., & Lozano, A., & Mucino, V. (2003, June), An International Industrial Outreach Program In Engineering Education: The Cultural Impact Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12548

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