June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.253.1 - 26.253.15
Assessing the Spectrum of International Undergraduate Engineering Educational ExperiencesInternational experiences are increasingly viewed as important components of undergraduate engineeringeducation. For accreditation, every engineering program must demonstrate that its graduates possess “thebroad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, envi-ronmental, and societal context.” While it is left to each individual program to define what this outcomemeans and how it would be measured, implied is a requirement that engineering programs begin to ad-dress “global preparedness.” Yet little has been done to define global preparedness, specify alternativesfor achieving it, or determine to what degree being globally prepared is the result of personal attributes,prior experiences, or curricular and co-curricular experiences. We investigate how international experi-ences both in and outside of formal curricula impact engineering students’ global preparedness. Buildingon previous work, we are investigating the diverse international opportunities available to U.S. engineer-ing undergraduates, and assessing the effectiveness of each. We are identifying ways to measure changesin global awareness, knowledge and thinking to address our research questions. The resultant informationand tools will provide insight to engineering administrators and faculty as they consider how to betterprepare their students for the global economy.This project is being conducted by a multidisciplinary team from the Universities of Pittsburgh, SouthernCalifornia, Tulsa, and Clemson with input from experts in the field of international engineering graduates.Our research involves three separate but integrated studies, of which the first two are complete. In Study1, we developed with experts an operational model of measurable attributes of engineering global prepar-edness. In addition, the experts helped to provide a comprehensive set of international experiences spe-cific to engineering education that were weighted to their perceived effectiveness in achieving global pre-paredness. In Study 2, we conducted a mixed-methods study among our collaborating schools. We didthis through a triangulation study using two established assessment instruments – the Global PerspectiveInventory (GPI) and the Engineering Global Preparedness Index (EGPI), each of which captures differentconstructs from the operational model developed in Study 1. Using statistical modeling methodology, wemapped these outcomes to educational practices, institutional characteristics, and student backgrounds us-ing an instrument developed as a result of Study 1. Then, we conducted a series of student interviews toexplore underlying experiences that contribute to achieving global preparedness. Study 3 involves con-ducting a larger cross-institutional quantitative study of 15 engineering schools to analyze the impact ofvarious international experiences, both within and outside the curriculum. Included in the latter will besuch experiences as military service, living internationally prior to college, or participating in an extendedservice project.This paper presents summarized results from the first two phases of our research, which is funded by theNational Science Foundation’s Research in Engineering Education (REE) initiative. Results from thisstudy broaden the knowledge base about how engineering students achieve global preparedness and thecontextual factors that influence this process. When completed this research will provide faculty with ac-tionable information about institutional factors, curricular and extracurricular practices that enable stu-dents to become globally prepared, and how global preparedness relates to student learning outcomes.
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