June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.257.1 - 14.257.10
Assessment of Mechanical Engineering Study Abroad programs in Germany: Experiences and Lessons Learned
This paper discusses the continued developments and the current status of study abroad programs for the mechanical engineering students at Kettering University. In particular, this paper outlines the study exchange with schools in Germany in which there is an equal number of students in exchange over two or three year span between the Kettering University and the participating schools in Germany. Programs at other countries such as Australia, China and Mexico are also available to the Kettering University students, while efforts are under way to explore opportunities in other parts of Europe and in Asia. Such study abroad programs provide an opportunity and promote understanding across technical programs and other nations.
This paper will discuss the continued efforts that include setting up of study abroad program policies, course mapping and course equivalency, students’ advisement, grading differences, student expectations, role of the faculty advisors, program assessment and finally, the lessons learned for continuous improvements of such programs. Technical Universities that wish to start new study abroad programs and those who already have study exchange in place would benefit from the experiences, findings and recommendations presented in this paper.
It is now well understood that engineering students who have international study experience in a diverse cultural and college environment are more likely to be hired and prepared for the global market place. During the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of students studying abroad. The academic standards have also been raised to maintain good quality programs offered abroad. Evaluation and assessment of the study abroad programs is an important aspect of accreditation criteria. This will be addressed in this paper to some extent. The paper concludes with a discussion of new prospects to expand the study abroad programs to other parts of Europe, to other countries such as Asia and Latin America.
Background and Introduction
Kettering University’s engineering academic and cooperative education make it unique among Engineering Schools in the United States. One of the main purposes of the international programs is to provide students value-added technical and cultural experiences. During the last four years, the Kettering University study abroad programs have been steadily growing with over 90 engineering students per year participating in study abroad programs in Germany alone. Under these study programs, the students typically live abroad for three to six months and interact with other international students, professors and in some cases industry employers from different cultures and academic and industrial traditions. Students return from these experiences feeling happy, confident and knowledgeable about the world in addition to having a personal satisfaction of their exposure to other cultures.
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