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Comparative Study of First-Year Engineering Honors Programs between U.S. and China

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

FPD IX: Research on First-Year Programs and Students, Part II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.346.1 - 22.346.18



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Paper Authors


Xiang Gong Beihang University, Beijing, Institute of Higher Education

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Xiang Gong is a Ph.D. student from the Institute of Higher Education, Beihang University (BUAA) in Beijing, China. He is now a visiting graduate student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research focuses on engineering leadership education.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education and is the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Dr. Cardella earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington she worked with the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments). She was a CASEE Postdoctoral Engineering Education Researcher at the Center for Design Research at Stanford before beginning her appointment at Purdue. Her research interests include: learning in informal and out-of-school time settings, pre-college engineering education, design thinking, mathematical thinking, and assessment research.

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Qing Lei Beihang University, Beijing

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Qing Lei is a Professor and the Director of Institute of Higher Education, the Associate Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Beihang University (BUAA), Beijing, China. He has conducted research as a senior visiting scholar in the School of Education at Indiana University, US, in 2002. From 1990 to 1995, he was the Associate Director of the Dean’s Office, BUAA. He received his Ph.D. in 2003, M.Ed. in 1990, and B.Eng. in 1986 from BUAA. Professor Lei’s primary social afiliations include the General Secretary of Chinese Society for Engineering Education, the Director of Chinese Academy of Engineering-BUAA Research Center for Engineering Education, and the consultor as a specialist of Beijing Municipal Government.

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Comparative Study of First-year Engineering Honors Programs between US and ChinaIn the era of the 21st Century, the call for change in engineering education has been underlinedand documented. To respond to the challenge of global engineering technological andenvironmental change, some renowned engineering-oriented universities in US offer highlymotivated, academically talented undergraduate engineering students with a broader, moreenriched academic experience during their years of college. Meanwhile, on the strength of theadvantage of rapid economic growth and absolute number of engineering graduates, on the otherside of the world, top engineering-centered universities and institutions in China launchprograms to cultivate talented undergraduate engineering students to help promote its pace toindustrialization. Previous researches both in the US and China have generalized andsummarized their experiences and characteristics to design and implement their uniqueengineering programs; however, there are few comparative studies between the two countries onthis topic.Therefore, this paper presents comparisons between the First-year Engineering Honors Programimplemented by School of Engineering Education, Purdue University (US) and the first-year ofUndergraduate Honors Program in School of Advanced Engineering, Beihang University (China).Starting with a brief introduction to these two programs by means of descriptive statisticalanalysis, the paper focuses on interviews with directors and faculty of both programs whichmainly concentrate on the following question: on the basis of their unique engineeringeducational theories or philosophies, how do honors programs run to achieve their set goals, andhow do their directors and faculty design and operate curriculum systems to support the teachingaim?The results of this paper will show the directors’ and faculty’s outlooks of the ongoing programsin both theoretical level (theory and teaching aim), and in operating level (curriculum). Thereasons of their similarities and differences will be thoroughly discussed based on a broader andcomprehensive international and educational background, in order to obtain a more clearunderstanding and more rapid advancement of this kind of programs.

Gong, X., & Cardella, M. E., & Lei, Q. (2011, June), Comparative Study of First-Year Engineering Honors Programs between U.S. and China Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17627

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