June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.408.1 - 22.408.14
Cultural Competency and Readiness for Global Experiences: An Assessment of Engineering StudentsGlobal educational experiences can help engineering students understand the importance ofcultural difference in cross-national working environments, while also giving them tools andstrategies for managing such differences in the practice of engineering. This study examines theextent of current engineering students’ awareness and potential acceptance of cultural similaritiesand differences, as well as the relation of their cultural competency to their perceived readinessfor global educational experiences.Two instruments were used to collect data for this study. First, the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale – Short Form (MGUDS-S) is designed to measure a person’s orientation towarddiversity in three dimensions, namely Diversity of Contact, Relativistic Appreciation, andComfort with Differences. Second, a Readiness Assessment survey was developed by theresearch team to measure an individual’s sense of preparedness for a learning experience abroad.Demographic information was also collected from our subject populations.Four groups of engineering students participated in this study. First, a baseline population ofstudents enrolled in a first-year honors engineering course (n=50) completed the demographicand MGUDS-S surveys. The other target groups consisted of engineering students in threeinternational programs of varying degree of cultural immersion and duration: Maymester China,a one month study abroad program (n=26), International Research and Education in Engineering(IREE), a three month research abroad program (n=57), and Global Engineering Alliance forResearch and Education (GEARE), a seven month internship and study program (n=16).Participants in these groups completed the demographic, MGUDS-S, and Readiness Assessmentsurveys at the beginning of their respective programs. They completed the Readiness Assessmentsurvey again immediately prior to departure.This study addresses two major questions. First, does cultural orientation differ amongengineering students in each of the four study populations? Second, is a more advanced culturalorientation towards diversity positively correlated with an enhanced sense of preparedness for aglobal experience? A set of research hypotheses are proposed and tested to answer thesequestions, using multiple statistical analysis techniques for data analysis. This study alsodiscusses the effectiveness of the Readiness Assessment instrument, including its ability tomeasure how orientation experiences improve student preparedness for global experiences. Weuse our analysis to propose some possible improvements and refinements for this instrument.The results of this study will improve understanding of cultural development and competencyamong today’s engineering students. More specifically, this research explores strategies forsystematically measuring student predispositions toward global educational experiences, as wellas their sense of preparedness prior to such experiences. The results will suggest a number ofways to help global engineering programs recruit and orient students, including strategies forimproving their understanding of cultural difference and enhancing their ability to collaborateacross national and cultural boundaries.
Shen, Y., & Jesiek, B. K., & Chang, Y. (2011, June), Cultural Orientation and Global Competency: A Comparative Assessment of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17689
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