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Development of a Novel Interdisciplinary Engineering Student Exchange Program

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2015 ASEE International Forum


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 14, 2015

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks - Session I

Tagged Topic

International Forum

Page Count


Page Numbers

19.9.1 - 19.9.9



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Paper Authors


Zaida M Gracia Texas Tech University

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I have a masters degree in Mathematics from Michigan State University and bachelors in mathematics from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico. I am currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Higher Education Leadership at Texas Tech University.
I was a full professor at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico in the Mathematics Department for 25 years. I was the P.I. of NSF and the US Department of Education grants and chaired the natural sciences department as well. Since August 2013 I joined Texas Tech University Whitacre College of Engineering where I am Assistant Academic Dean for Central and South American Programs and Director of Special Projects.

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Allison Wright Texas Tech University

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Allison Wright is an SIT Graduate Institute Alum focusing on Education Abroad and is currently the Director of Texas Tech University's International Engineering Programs overseeing the implementation of the International Experience Initiative. Previously she has worked for an international provider in London and for North Dakota State University.
Allison is a two-time alum of international programs in Caen, France and Istanbul, Turkey. She is an active member of the International Education field, attending workshops in non-traditional majors, internships, student advising, and best practices.

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Development of a Novel Interdisciplinary Engineering Student Exchange ProgramAs an initiative to prepare graduates for the ever-changing global landscape and a job market thatis increasingly becoming more international and competitive, the Whitacre College ofEngineering (WCOE) at Texas Tech University (TTU) requires that all undergraduates startingwith the Fall class of 2013 will be required to go abroad and have an international experiencebefore graduation. The WCOE has implemented an international platform model to offer abroad range of flexible programs that accommodates each student's interest, goals and personalsituation.In order to diversify the student’s options, a number of different programs have been developedin countries located in Central and South America, Europe and Asia. One of these programs isdeveloped with Universidad del Norte (Uninorte) located in Colombia, South America, and setsa combined model of Study Abroad - Research Experience while providing a culturalengagement. The project model is a novel student exchange program that seeks to reach theWCOE goals of expanding its international programs and diversifying student’s offerings. Theprogram brings engineering students from each university to an innovative model of exchangeagreement that combines the development of an academic, research, and societal study abroadexperience related to a sustainable or renewable energy topic. Undergraduate students from bothinstitutions are engaged in a summer course, a research experience for undergraduates (REU),and interaction in local professional contexts related to the selected topics, in order to connectacademic and research contents with societal needs from an abroad perspective.During this student exchange, students will take part in classes directly related to the selectedresearch topic, language classes, culturally adaptive events, a workshop designed to teach how toapproach society needs and problems from the engineering research perspective, includingpreparation in how to develop important skills to conduct research activities and present theirresults. Students on either country have different opportunities to explore and engage the localcultures. A full project design for the eight weeks has been stablished including the studentevaluation and the program assessment. All students participating in this program will receiveacademic credit related to their discipline and devoted time towards research experience. Eachinstitution selects students from multiple disciplines in engineering and a group of faculty tocoordinate the interdisciplinary activities and assess the entire program.The project allows achieving a number of results such as the signature of a new collaborativeTTU-UniNorte agreement, the development of a combined Research-Academic Undergraduatestudent exchange program, and the interaction between both institutions' faculty in academic andresearch scenarios. Project results pave future avenues of collaboration at the graduate level, andincrease cultural awareness of students studying abroad to the U.S. and Colombia.

Gracia, Z. M., & Wright, A. (2015, June), Development of a Novel Interdisciplinary Engineering Student Exchange Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--17132

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