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Building Effective Partnership Networks when Working Internationally

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Impact of Community Engagement on Communities

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.243.1 - 24.243.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Lindsey A Nelson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Building Effective Partnership NetworksIn order to engage communities around the world, engineering educators must build networkswith relevant community organizations. Many factors can compound building effectivenetworks. Organizations have different philosophies about how engineers should undertakecommunity engagement. These philosophies include convictions that engineers should developlow-cost products suitable for markets in marginalized communities, engineers should deviseclever solutions to help people living in poverty meet basic needs, engineers must effectivelyrespond to sociocultural considerations when proposing solutions, and engineers should work toempower local artisans who have already begun seeking solutions to pressing problems.Additionally, university programs have to overcome many geographic and relational barriers inorder to have effective community access. This paper will discuss different strategies to buildeffective partnership networks.This paper uses discourse analysis to examine the advertised partnerships of four predominantengineering education programs working in global communities. I selected four engineeringeducation programs with different guiding philosophies with a theoretically grounded samplingframe. The sampling frame relies on wellbeing frameworks found in international developmentscholarship. I reviewed all publicly available documentation that detailed the development ofpartnerships to determine how discourse models influenced building partnership networks.Preliminary results indicate that relational proximity rather than philosophical alignment tends toinfluence creating partnerships. While the four selected engineering education programs havedifferent guiding philosophies, they also have distinct relational connections that create differentmodels for partnerships. Engineering education programs can focus on building partnershipswith organizations local to the university, with organizations local to the target community, withorganizations that have a large global footprint, and with individuals within the targetcommunity. The paper will discuss how these different partnership models can inform how anengineering education program could develop partnerships more strongly aligned with theprogram’s guiding philosophy.

Nelson, L. A. (2014, June), Building Effective Partnership Networks when Working Internationally Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20134

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