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Educating Globally Competent Engineers in Segovia, Spain

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Globalizing Engineering Education II: Best Practices

Tagged Topic

ASEE Global Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.521.1 - 22.521.11



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Paper Authors


James McConnell North Carolina State University

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James McConnell was born in the city of Rome, New York. His father was in the military working as a combat photographer so the family moved around a lot before settling in Panama for 5 years until he was 10. Living in Panama and driving through Central America to return to the United States created a desire to continue being around the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. It also motivated him to receive an MA in Hispanic Literature from the University of Arizona where he taught from 1995 – 2000 before accepting a position as Caribbean Operations Director for an adventure travel company for teenagers called Broadreach. The years he taught for them afforded Mr. McConnell travel to Mexico, Ecuador, Fiji, The Solomon Islands and most of the Caribbean but it also renewed his desire to return to academia.
He has been employed as a Lecturer at NC State since the fall of 2005. Among the courses he especially enjoys creating and teaching are conversation and introduction to culture and grammar through the use of film. He has recently taken over the role as the spring instructor for Beginning Spanish (FLS 101) and it has been exceptionally gratifying. This course is a new model, having moved from individual classes of 25 to large groups of over 250 each. As part of his course load, Mr. McConnell oversees four Graduate Teaching Assistants for FLS 101. In addition to the courses he teaches in a classroom setting, he is also the instructor of an online Spanish course that blends the elements of the Spanish language with the relationship among culture and technology. He meets regularly with department members to plan collaboratively and articulate content between courses.
In addition to teaching, Mr. McConnell leads Engineering Students on a summer semester program to Spain. Although based out of the town of Segovia, students travel to several cities including Toledo, Barcelona, Madrid, Avila and Salamanca. The program is geared toward Engineering students and includes traditional language classes and various excursions such as kayaking, visits to glass factories, a daytrip to a winery and outings to visit several castles in the region to incorporate a historical and cultural perspective to the program.
James is a current member of Sigma Iota Rho which is the Honor Society for International Studies and he is also currently a mentor for the Global Perspectives Certificate program through the Study Abroad Office. His most recent professional development involved conducting a three hour workshop for the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina titled: “Gmail and Beyond: Google applications and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning.” Additional certifications he either holds or has held include being a Medic First Aid Instructor, a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and medical certifications in both Wilderness Medicine and CPR.

While his main focus continues to center around academia, James still likes to take the time to focus on activities not related to the university whenever he is free. He is a former scuba diver who also enjoys sailing, mountain biking, hiking, reading, cooking and any form of travel. His international travel has taken him to South and Central America, Europe, Africa, The South Pacific and parts of Canada.

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Brian D. Koehler North Carolina State University

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Brian D. Koehler is Director of International Engagement in the College of Engineering at NC State University. He leads NC State’s Engineering Career Fair which has become one of the largest and highest-quality opportunities in the nation, mentors the NC State Engineering Ambassadors, and the Engineers’ Council. He also serves corporations via the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. Teaching and research areas include: engineering education, international engineering, leadership, corporate recruiting, and supply chain management. Brian received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (B.S.) and NC State University (M.A. & M.B.A).

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Educating Globally Competent Engineers: The International Certificate at NC State UniversityThis paper describes the background, implementation, assessment, and future plans of theInternational Certificate developed in the College of Engineering at North Carolina StateUniversity. The motivation for initiating the International Certificate was to structure andacknowledge the international experiences of our engineering students. The success ofinternational programs is widely documented, and indeed at NC State there are many existingprograms that have been integrated into the International Certificate. The goal of theInternational Certificate is to prepare students to be globally competent engineers throughinternational coursework and experiences.

McConnell, J., & Koehler, B. D. (2011, June), Educating Globally Competent Engineers in Segovia, Spain Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17802

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