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Culture, Creativity, And Confidence: Synthesizing The International Experience

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Educating Graduates in Engineering For A Flat World

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.429.1 - 12.429.12



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Paper Authors


Carolyn Percifield Purdue University

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Carolyn Percifield is Director of Strategic Planning for the College of Engineering at Purdue University; helped found and continues to co-advise two engineering student organizations; and created two study abroad courses for engineering students.

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David Bowker Purdue University

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David Bowker is the Director of Undergraduate Engineering Recruitment at Purdue University. He has a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision, a master’s degree in higher education administration (both from Purdue University), and has worked in college recruiting and admissions for ten years. David regularly presents on engineering topics on campus, at high schools and conferences. He is a Co-instructor for ENE 595G Global Leadership and Innovation.

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Demetra Evangelou Purdue University

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Demetra Evangelou is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Purdue University, College of Engineering. Her research interests include early engineering and the effects of multiple influences on engineering thinking.

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Mi'schita' Henson Purdue University

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Mi’schita’ Henson is currently a graduate student in the Engineering Professional Education Department at Purdue University. Her interests are Human Factors Engineering and Software Engineering. She received a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Information Systems from Indiana University – Kokomo and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. She has been employed with Delphi Electronics and Safety for 10 years, both as an Engineering Co-op and Full-time Engineer. Her current Professional Affiliations are with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Member – Purdue Chapter and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

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

Culture, Creativity, and Confidence: Synthesizing the International Experience


Success for today’s engineering students will depend on their ability to work with people of many cultures and experiences, to innovate creative engineering solutions to increasingly complex problems, and to develop innovative business and technology strategies using creativity and sensitivity as they navigate increasingly complex environments and markets. A four week (Maymester), six credit course was developed to provide engineering students at Purdue an opportunity to immerse and stretch professionally and personally in a global environment. The four instructor team that included an alumna, accompanied 21 freshman through PhD students from 9 of the 12 engineering disciplines and included 7 women and 5 African Americans. The destination was Chania, Crete. Home base was on the campus of the graduate research campus, Mediterranean Institute of Chania (MAICh) where students met and lived with graduate students primarily from the Mediterranean region. The course titled Global Leadership and Innovation was designed to provide an intercultural experience that would 1. immerse students in a culture vastly different from their own so they could learn to appreciate and value human differences, and develop strategies for venturing outside their comfort zone; 2. reinforce and help synthesize the notion of cultural identity and how our culture flavors our experiences, our interpretations, and our interactions with other people by using a uniquely American academic “product,” Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), for a feasibility study; 3. develop intellectual and practical tools so students can “make themselves ready” for creativity, openness to new ideas, and working effectively without enough information; and 4. develop teamwork and build a community of students who will share their experiences with others when they return.

The results from the student feedback were overwhelmingly positive.


“Solutions of societal problems require that these [safe, reliable, and innovative] technologies be applied in innovative ways with consideration of cultural differences, historical perspectives, and legal and economic constraints, among other issues. … We aspire to an engineering profession that will rapidly embrace the potentialities offered by creativity, invention, and cross- disciplinary fertilization to create and accommodate new fields of endeavor, including those that require openness to interdisciplinary efforts with non-engineering disciplines such as science, social science, and business. … We aspire to a future where engineers are prepared to adapt to changes in global forces and trends to ethically assist the world in creating a balance in the

Percifield, C., & Bowker, D., & Evangelou, D., & Henson, M. (2007, June), Culture, Creativity, And Confidence: Synthesizing The International Experience Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2962

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015