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Assessment Of An Engineering Study Abroad Program: Reflections From The First 124 Students (2001 2006)

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Without Borders: Programs Involving Students

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.283.1 - 12.283.9



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Paper Authors


Solomon Eisenberg Boston University

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Solomon Eisenberg is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at the Boston University College of Engineering (since 1998) and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. He received the SB, SM and ScD degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and joined the faculty at BU in 1983. He was a 1987 recipient of an NSF PYI Award, and received the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching from BU in 1990. He served as Dean ad interim of the Boston University College of Engineering for the 2005/06 academic year.

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Jo-Ann Murray Boston University

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Jo-Ann Murray is the Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Boston University College of Engineering. Her office provides support services for engineering undergraduates. She has master's degrees in both education and social work from Boston University. She has lived and worked abroad and has extensive experience with international students.

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Urbain DeWinter Boston University

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Urbain (Ben) DeWinter is Associate Provost for International Education and Professor of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature at Boston University. He earned an AB degree in History at Georgetown and a PhD in Romance Languages & Literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

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

Assessment of an Engineering Study Abroad Program: Reflections from the First 124 Students (2001-2006)


In spring 2001, the Boston University College of Engineering inaugurated a study abroad program at the Technical University of Dresden (TUD) in Germany. This program was designed specifically for second-semester sophomore engineering undergraduates and was structured to make it possible for engineering students to seamlessly incorporate a study abroad experience into their normal engineering programs without extending the length of the degree program, without incurring additional expense, and without having prior knowledge of a foreign language.

The second semester of the sophomore year was targeted because this is the last semester in which engineering students at Boston University share a substantially common curriculum. Program participants take the same technical courses at TUD that they would have taken in Boston. These courses are taught in English by TUD faculty using the same textbooks and syllabi as in Boston and incorporate equivalent laboratory experiences. In addition, students take a sociology course which focuses on technology and society in Germany (also taught in English), and an intensive German language course.

To date, 124 students have completed the program in Dresden. Several approaches have been used to assess the success of the program. These include annual debriefing sessions with returning students early in the fall semester and a review of pre- and post-study abroad academic performance. Additionally, a comprehensive survey of all participants to date was undertaken in fall 2005, and updated in fall 2006 to include spring 2006 participants. This paper will report on the feedback received.

By all measures, the program has been outstandingly successful. Student interest and program scope have increased substantially since 2001. In 2006, we launched a second site at Tech de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico and a third site at Tel Aviv University in 2007. We are also in discussions with institutions in India, China and Singapore about future programs. We interpret this success as validation of our belief that engineering students will embrace the opportunity to study abroad if appropriate structures are created and significant barriers are reduced.


The Boston University College of Engineering and the Boston University Division of International Programs launched a study abroad program designed specifically for engineering students in spring 2001. The authors reported on the planning and design of this program in a previous paper1. Twelve students participated that spring in the first program, which was sited at the Technical University of Dresden, in Dresden, Germany. In spring 2006, a second site was established at the Guadalajara, Mexico campus of Tech de Monterrey, and a third site was established in spring 2007 at Tel Aviv University, Israel. In spring 2007, a total of 52 students studied abroad in these programs at all three sites. Since program inception, a total of 124 students have participated in Dresden through spring 2006. We believe that one reason for the

Eisenberg, S., & Murray, J., & DeWinter, U. (2007, June), Assessment Of An Engineering Study Abroad Program: Reflections From The First 124 Students (2001 2006) Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1693

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