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Changing Attitudes in Cross-Cultural Diversity Through International Senior Capstone Projects

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 1

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.341.1 - 26.341.11



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Paper Authors


Phillip Albert Sanger Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Phillip A. Sanger is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology in the College of Technology at Purdue University. At Purdue, Dr. Sanger spearheads the multidisciplinary senior capstone program where students solve real problems for industry. Prior to joining Purdue he was the Director of the Center for Rapid Product Realization (the Rapid Center) at Western Carolina University where he worked with hundreds of companies from the Piedmont Megalopolis from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee utilizing this university-based product-development center to grow the economy and enhance the educational experience.
Before Dr. Sanger entered the academic world, he had a very successful 25 year career in industry developing, launching and commercializing new technologies. Many of these technologies are now taken for granted: superconducting magnets for magnetic resonance imaging, high performance accelerator magnets for the Superconducting Super Collider, low cost power electronics for electric automobiles, high temperature power conditioning for the next generation Army tank, high power SiC switches for power utility energy management and energy efficient glass fiber drawing technology. He has held industry leadership positions at Oxford Superconducting Technology, Westinghouse, Northrop Grumman and the SCC Laboratory.

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Julia Ziyatdinova Kazan National Research Technological University

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Julia Ziyatdinova graduated from Kazan State Pedagogical University in 1999. Her major areas of study were foreign languages and she finished her University course with honors and qualification of teacher of English and Turkish. She continued her training and obtained PhD in Education degree in 2002. The topic of her PhD study was titled “System of Character Education in the US Schools: Current State and Trends for the Development”. She also received additional minor degrees in Management (1998) and Psychology (1999) in Kazan State Technological University.

Julia joined the team of Kazan State Technological University as an instructor at the Department of Foreign Languages and the School of Foreign Languages “Lingua” in 1999 and was rapidly promoted to the position of Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages in 2003. Her teaching career was perfectly balanced by the experience of a translator and an interpreter. She is a well-known person at Kazan international conferences and other events for her high quality consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, such as interpreting for the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan.

The new milestone in Julia’s career was the position of the Chair of Department of Foreign Languages for Professional Communication in 2007, when she took over all the responsibilities related to foreign language training at Kazan State Technological University. The teaching and research priorities of her department were then focused on professional and intercultural communication for students in a technical university, professional translation and creation of foreign language environment at a university.

Because of her talents and activities, Julia became one of key figures in university international life. When Kazan State Technological University obtained the new status of a National Research University and joined the list of Top 30 Russian universities, Julia was offered a position of a Head of University International Office. She took over this position in April 2011 and rapidly gathered a strong team of professionals to face the challenges of the new university status and transformed International Office into University International Affairs with two offices covering all the aspects of internationalization.

In addition to her intensive career, Julia is also the Director of Center for Intercultural Communication – a company within the University structure offering excellent language training services for students and adult employees.

Julia is the author and co-author of over 85 publications including monographs, journal articles and study guides.

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Jacek Kropiwnicki Gdansk University of Technology, Poland

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Jacek Kropiwnicki is an Associate Professor and Vice-Dean for Education in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Gdansk University of Technology, Poland. He received his B.S., M.S., PhD and DSc in Mechanical Engineering. His teaching specialties are internal combustion engines and compressors, Stirling engines and renewable energy sources. Research areas include modelling of vehicle propulsion systems, identification of real operation conditions of those systems and renewable energy sources using for electric power generation.
Address: Gdansk University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, ul. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdansk, Poland, Email:

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Phuc Van Nguyen Purdue University

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I am a master student at Purdue University, with the School of Engineering Technology. My research interests include general management, industrial management, operations research and general education

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Changing Attitudes in Cross Cultural Diversity through International Senior Capstone ProjectsIn this global world, today’s engineer is likely to have to work in global international teams withcolleagues from other nationalities. The challenge for many engineering curricula is how toinclude, in a realistic way, this global dimension and increase the student’s awareness of theissues that are encountered. In the _____ University engineering technology program an international capstone project wascreated to change attitudes and awareness of the challenges they will face in global projects. Thisinternational capstone project builds on the existing, industry sponsored, multi-disciplinarycapstone team project that is required of all students. In the international project, half of theteam members are students from a non-US university. The full team works on a projectproposed by companies with a global footprint in both the U.S. and in proximity to the foreigninstitution. The first two international teams are as follows: _____ University with the________, Germany sponsored by Lenze Corporation and ________University with _________,Poland sponsored by Eaton Corporation. Most of the global project is carried out using the fullrange of electronic communication tools such as email, skype, and blogs. In addition twoexchange trips are made with team members traveling to their opposite foreign location. Ideallythe first trip occurs near the initiation of the project for planning, organizing andconceptualization. One of the challenges is the synchronization of the two curricula and theacademic schedules of the two institutions.In order to assess whether this approach can increase awareness in global cultures, the MGUDS-S form which assesses cross cultural diversity was used to measure whether the outcome ofincreased awareness is being achieved. Data using the MGUDS-S survey was collected fromseveral populations: • the full senior engineering technology capstone class at _______ of 109 students, • a subset of that class which was the students who are participating in the international capstone experiences (7 students), • the third year class of electrical engineering students at _________, Germany, • the third year mechanical engineering class ____________, Poland and finally • the participants in the Global Village on The Move program held in Kazan, Russia.This latter group is made up of experienced professional business people and entrepreneurs fromaround the world including Russia, Mexico, Luxembourg, Australia, South Africa, Uzbekistan,Brazil, and Finland. This international group has quite different demographics than the othergroups and is being used as a reasonable benchmark for broad minded professionals already fullyaware of the potential benefits to cross cultural interactions.Initial results has confirmed that the benchmark group is statistically more advanced than theother groups in their interest to participate in diverse cultural activities and to appreciate thevalue that experiences with other cultures helps understand their own problems better. The paperdiscusses other variances that the data reveals.

Sanger, P. A., & Ziyatdinova, J., & Kropiwnicki, J., & Nguyen, P. V. (2015, June), Changing Attitudes in Cross-Cultural Diversity Through International Senior Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23680

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