Columbus , Ohio
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
Diversity and Main Forum (Podium Presentation)
Relations between the United States and Cuba are changing at an historic rate. U.S. and Cuban engineering institutions are eagerly anticipating future formal relationships. However, many institutional, legal, logistical, communication, and social challenges must be addressed before truly sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships can emerge. The Universidad Tecnológica de la Habana José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE) has been a leader in formal relationships with international universities for many years. Building on that infrastructure, the College of Engineering at University of Alabama (UA) has been working since 2012 to build a broad basis of trust and mutual respect to allow both of the US and Cuban institutions to move forward with a number of collaborative programs. To this end, the institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Fall of 2015.
Faculty from UA College of Engineering met with their Cuban partners in Cuba several times between 2012 and 2015 building an understanding over the course of a number of short meetings. During this time, it was decided that a course taught at the Cuban Institution by faculty from both universities would be the best way to start a formal partnership and develop the type of deeper understanding and trust necessary to move forward with other collaborations and exchanges. The first two courses were taught in Cuba in May 2016 with eight U.S. students and two U.S. faculty traveling to the Cuban institution to launch the program.
This paper presents and discusses the emerging partnership between these colleges of engineering. The authors explore the motivations and backgrounds of the individuals, departments, and institutions involved. We discuss how the particular classes were chosen and how their curricula (including roles of different faculty) were developed. The class structure and activities are described and presented. An evaluation of student and faculty assessment of the success, strengths and weaknesses of this first course are discussed.
University Alabama hosted the Cuban faculty in October for one week. During this time, the experience to date was critically examined and future broader interactions between the universities were discussed and will be presented herein, along with a discussion of how personal relationships have been the key to this program’s success.
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