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Are Engineering Students Culturally Intelligent?: Preliminary Results from a Multiple Group Study

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Global Engineering Education: Cross-cultural Awareness and Social Impacts

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Page Count


Page Numbers

25.204.1 - 25.204.10



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Paper Authors

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Andrea Mazzurco Purdue University Orcid 16x16


Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Brent K. Jesiek is Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., USA. He is also an Associate Director of Purdue’s Global Engineering Program, and leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. His research involves social, cultural, historical, and epistemological studies of global engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and engineering education research.

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Kavitha D. Ramane Purdue University

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Are Engineering Students Culturally Intelligent?: Preliminary Results of a Multi-Institutional SurveyThere is growing awareness that the engineer of the future must be able to live and work in themidst of diverse perspectives, including across disciplines, cultures, and stakeholder groups. Thispaper proposes “cultural intelligence” (CQ) as an important attribute for this type of“multiperspectival” engineer. Generally viewed as a measure of a person’s ability to functioneffectively in multi-cultural environments, CQ is typically understood as involving a mix ofcognitive, meta-cognitive, behavioral, and motivational dimensions, and is usually measured bymeans of a valid and reliable 20-question survey instrument. This paper begins with a review ofrelevant literature, including prior studies of cross-cultural competence in engineering, and adiscussion of how cultural intelligence fits into a larger conceptual framework for globalcompetency in engineering education and practice. We then present preliminary results from astudy of CQ involving more than two hundred engineering students at two U.S. universities. Wepay particular attention to variations in CQ scores related to factors such as gender, student level(i.e., from first-year to senior), nationality, linguistic ability, prior experience living abroad, andplanned involvement in global educational experiences (e.g. study abroad, etc.). These results arethen used to discuss a series of implications and recommendations for engineering educators andadministrators, including some observed benefits and disadvantages of the CQ instrument, and areview of various teaching and learning strategies that may be used to enhance the CQ ofengineering students. The paper concludes by discussing how CQ can be used as part of anintegrated assessment model for global engineering programs that brings together measures ofsojourn readiness, cross-cultural competence, and global engineering competency.

Mazzurco, A., & Jesiek, B. K., & Ramane, K. D. (2012, June), Are Engineering Students Culturally Intelligent?: Preliminary Results from a Multiple Group Study Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20964

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