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Crossing Frontiers In Technical Education Whose Benefit?

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



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Page Numbers

1.130.1 - 1.130.4

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Yolanda Guran

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1160

CROSSING FRONTIERS IN TECHNICAL EDUCATION - WHOSE BENEFIT? Reflections on an Unorthodox International Exchange

Yolanda Guran Oregon Institute of Technology


In the new reality of a global world economy, it is more and more important to expose the engineering students to international experiences. For small teaching institutions without a research program it is a challenge to run exchange programs. With budget reductions encountered by state institutions in USA and Europe as well, to maintain such a program brings lately additional problems. Unusual solutions have to be found.

The paper will present the steps taken by two engineering technology colleges in order to have an exchange program. Oregon Institute of Technology, with campuses in Klamath Falls and Portland and Hogeschool Enschede in the Netherlands established students and faculty exchanges starting in 1991. Over a period of five years, this small program proved to bring different benefits for all parties involved: students, faculty and local industry.

1. Introduction

We all know and we hear over and over again the same refrain: we live in a global market economy. Since the collapse of communism, borders became more permeable and we should acknowledge that there is no border for competition. High technology is especially global and shared. We are aware that if one of our students is hired by a company like Motorola or AT&T, he/she will produce a cellular phone which could be used in Seattle, but maybe in Tokyo, Moscow or Nairobi. Our graduates could be hired by INTEL, but this could mean some work at a factory in Ireland or Germany. If the graduate becomes a marketing manager, the very survival of the business will depend on his/her understanding of these different markets and cultures. We are already paying the price of overlooking the competition and if there is no American build VCR in American homes, we will like to believe that in the future we will still compete with other products: like software, telecommunications, computers, and so many others.

In this new reality of the globalization of technology and markets, it is very important to provide our students with some kind of international experiences. Research institutions in general have a tradition in international exchanges, at least by having an international student body.

For smaller technology colleges, designed initially to provide training for local industry needs, international education is a new concept. The exchange programs established at the state level are usually more appropriate for liberal arts students who get credit for studying foreign languages and cultures. Our engineering technology students are more pragmatic and don’t commit to programs which could delay their

{tixij 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘.,+e~yy’:

Guran, Y. (1996, June), Crossing Frontiers In Technical Education Whose Benefit? Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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