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Embedding Cross-cultural Communication Awareness and Skills Training in a Living-learning Community for First-year Undergraduate Engineering Students

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Undergraduate Track - Technical Session VI

Tagged Topic

Undergraduate Education

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29503

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

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Ashley R. Taylor Virginia Tech

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Ashley Taylor is a doctoral candidate in engineering education at Virginia Polytechnic and State University, where she also serves as a program assistant for the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and an advisor for international senior design projects in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Ashley received her MS in Mechanical Engineering, MPH in Public Health Education, and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Her research interests include access to higher education, broadening participation in engineering, the integration of engineering education and international development, and building capacity in low and middle income countries through inclusive technical education.

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Karis Boyd-Sinkler Virginia Tech

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Karis Boyd-Sinkler is a doctoral student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She also serves as support staff for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity where she is involved in the recruitment, outreach, and retention of engineering students. Her research interests include diversity in engineering and the role of engineering student support centers in regards to student attrition and persistence rates. Ms. Boyd received her B.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia in 2014.

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Susan Arnold-Christian Virginia Tech

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Susan Arnold Christian currently serves at the Assistant Director for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in September of 2010, she served as the Outreach Program Coordinator for the Women in Engineering & Science Program at Kansas State University. She began her work in STEM outreach and student support at Girls to Women, a private not for profit in Kansas City, in the late 90’s.
She earned her M.S. in Youth Development from the University of Nebraska and her B.S. in Family Studies at Kansas State University.

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Walter C. Lee Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

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Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

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Bevlee A. Watford Virginia Tech

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Watford is Professor of Engineering Education, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. She is currently President of ASEE.

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Christian Matheis Virginia Tech

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I concurrently serve as Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, and as Director of the Graduate School Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives at Virginia Tech. My research specializations include ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of liberation. Within these areas, I concentrate on public policy, feminism, race, migration and refugees, and similar topics.

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Kim Lester Virginia Tech

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Dr.Lester serves as the Coordinator of Pre-College Programs at Virginia Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the College of Santa Fe.

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Abstract

As an increasingly global profession, the engineering workforce requires cultural self-awareness and the ability to interact with persons of differing cultural backgrounds. This paper highlights initiatives to embed cross-cultural communication awareness and skills into the professional formation of undergraduate engineering students. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of three cross-cultural communication workshop modules developed for implementation in two engineering living learning communities (LLCs) at a single institution. Currently, these two engineering LLCs provide academic and social support for over 600 first-year engineering students. Importantly, we note that these efforts are an enduring, collaborative partnership between engineering industry representatives and multiple academic disciplines.

In this presentation we describe curriculum and implementation of four cross-cultural communication workshop modules. Our ongoing assessment of the workshops utilizes multiple methods including surveys, focus groups, and written reflections from undergraduate engineering student participants. Additionally, assessment initiatives leverage feedback from engineering industry representatives and workshop facilitators. This presentation concludes with next steps for the cross-cultural communication workshops, including the implementation of a training program for upper-class student leaders to assist in their development of activities and interactions with first-year students. This work is part of a larger initiative in the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity to broaden participation in engineering.

Taylor, A. R., & Boyd-Sinkler, K., & Arnold-Christian, S., & Lee, W. C., & Watford, B. A., & Matheis, C., & Lester, K. (2018, April), Embedding Cross-cultural Communication Awareness and Skills Training in a Living-learning Community for First-year Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29503

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