Asee peer logo

Dialogue of Innovation: Did You Come to See or Did You Come to Stay?

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Diversity Redefined: Nontraditional Views in Traditional Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.433.1 - 24.433.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard R Harris Northeastern University

visit author page

Richard Harris
College of Engineering
Assistant Dean for Academic Scholarship, Mentoring & Outreach
Director, NUPRIME

visit author page


Lauren Machunis Northeastern University

visit author page

Lauren Machunis is an undergraduate Academic Advisor in the College of Engineering at Northeastern University, where she advises first year students, as well as upper class students majoring in Chemical Engineering. Additionally, she is an adjunct instructor in Liberal Studies within Northeastern's College of Professional Studies. Lauren received her BS in Communications Studies, as well as a Master of Science in Applied Educational Psychology, from Northeastern University. In addition to her interests in the area of college student development, she has also been involved in college access programming. Lauren served as Director of Linking Education and Diversity (LEAD), a college access mentoring program serving students in the Boston Public School system.

visit author page


William Tiga Tita D'Amore-McKim Business School, Northeastern University

visit author page

Dr. William Tiga Tita, Ph.D., MBA, BSME, Chairman and CEO of the Global Management Center, Trade Information Network of the G77 Chamber Ltd (GMC-TIN). GMC-TIN created and operates , recognized as the electronic commerce portal of the G77’s 133 member states and the World Chamber Network, . He is on the faculty of the D’Amore-Kim School of Business at Northeastern University, and is a visiting faculty member at the Graduate School of Business, Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Dr. Tita has been Program Manager and Chief Technical Adviser in the Private Sector Development Program of the U.N. Development Program and founder of IOCS-African Informatics, S.A., a Cameroonian software engineering firm and software reseller. He serves on several high-tech company boards. Dr. Tita has been recognized by the International Development Agencies, notably, the World Bank, as a pioneer and expert in distance learning and eCommerce.
He is also a Kent Fellow on Social Ethics from University of Southern California where he completed his post-doctoral studies.
Dr. Tita’s research interests are in exploring the role of the Web in trade development and education and training, in general, for the emerging economies. Other primary teaching and research interests are professional ethics, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and strategy in the global economy.

Address: D’Amore-Kim School of Business, Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, Rm.219A, HA
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 1-617-373-7259
Mobile: 1-508-735-7945

visit author page

Download Paper |


A Dialogue of Innovation: Did you come to See or did you come to Stay?AbstractThe Dialogue of Innovation was established and launched by the College of Engineering at___________________ University during Summer 2013 in Cameroon, Africa. This culturallyimmersive experience allowed _______________ University students to experience daily life ina traditional African village setting while creating sustainable solutions to real life challenges inthis developing country. Fourteen students enrolled in this initiative with 85% identified asmembers of underrepresented populations:. They consisted of majors from across the universityincluding: Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, ComputerEngineering, International Affairs, Human Services, Entrepreneurship and ManagementInformation Systems. Students participated in two academic courses, taught by__________________University lecturers and advisors who traveled abroad with the students.Courses included Engineering Discovery and Innovation and Business in Modern AfricanEconomy. In addition, _____________ University students worked with and collaborated with25 student counterparts from a local Cameroon university. Peer collaboration was a key featureto this program, because it allowed the students to understand local perspectives and involved thelocal stakeholders in the innovative solution development. In six weeks, students worked toidentify areas for development, and used a Human Centered Design (HCD) model that met threerequisite criteria for recommendations: (1) desirability, (2) feasibility and, (3)viability/sustainability. The students presented their final project proposals to various levels oflocal stakeholders, including community and government leaders. Moreover, the projectsresearched and presented by the students, resulted in an opportunity for the village council andarea government authorities to engage in securing a possible $1,000,000 USD (FCA 5.3Billion)largesse from the WorldBank, to fund community-driven projects and thereby implement manyof the innovative solutions proposed to address the areas of: water resources/health, renewableenergy, waste management, agricultural transformation, governance, community empowermentand engagement, education, and transportation.This program offered an opportunity for undergraduate engineering and non-engineeringstudents to understand engineering problem-solving from a social and culturally relevant context,and to be able to create a continuum for further entrepreneurial growth. Moreover, studentswere able to make direct connections between global initiatives, such as the United NationsMillenium Development Goals and the WorldBank strategic plans, to the work that they weredoing at the local level. Effectively, students were challenged to understand what it truly meantto think globally, and act locally.This paper will present the successes and challenges in launching a global experience forstudents that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. This will be assessed through studentreflections and final projects. It will also discuss how cross-cultural exchange of experientiallearning can be incorporated into an engineering curriculum and has basis in Kolb’s LearningTheory.

Harris, R. R., & Machunis, L., & Tita, W. T. (2014, June), Dialogue of Innovation: Did You Come to See or Did You Come to Stay? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20324

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: © 2014 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