June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.500.1 - 7.500.7
Main Menu Session no. # 2360
Engineers of tomorrow and beyond Knowledge, insight and skills needed to work across borders
Arvid Andersen, Jørgen Hansen Ingeniørhøjskolen i København, Denmark.
This paper contributes to the perception of the future engineer and the competencies needed. Besides a good basic knowledge of engineering, business, technology and management our students need training in softer skills such as international cooperation, collaboration, communication, teambuilding and teamwork, language and understanding of other cultures, their behaviour, costumes, habits and expectations. The Chinese saying: “Ru xiang sui su” meaning “Enter village and follow costume” tells it all. The future engineer must be able to work in international project groups with multidisciplinary and cross-cultural participation. In the European Project Semester, EPS, described in this paper, students are exposed to a multi- cultural environment in which they study and work together on real projects provided by industry. Here new learning and teaching methods and competencies are introduced and are not just an opportunity to practice what has been previously taught. Normally students from 10-12 different universities in EU, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Lithuania participate. Also universities in Chile and the US are now sending their students to join. EPS contributes to international understanding and competitiveness.
Tremendous upheavals have taken place within the last decade in Society, Industry and Education. Therefore some kind of partnership, between those who provide and those who use engineers, is important in order to establish a cradle for the 21 st century engineer. It is important that education, business and industry make the profession known and attractive to young people. It is important that we motivate them to chose engineering. It is important that we secure a continuous intake of engineering students of both sexes to take over where we finish. How do we do this? How do we fulfil requirements and wishes of society, students, industry and universities? How do we make our own country a strong competitor in Europe and on the global market? How do we develop and promote peaceful and fruitful cooperation and collaboration within and across boarders? Many engineering disciplines have struggled for years trying to adjust to the ever-increasing rate of technology change. There is a general tendency to mix disciplines. However, not just the technological change and technical expertise are of importance. Other and softer skills such as collaboration and co-operation, teamwork skills, communication and languages are needed to cope with the fast changing situation2. The engineer is no longer just a technical specialist sitting on his own in a corner trying to solve problems alone. He/she is expected to be an integrated part of a much broader society. Besides being the technical specialist, a Danish engineer is expected to speak at least two foreign languages, to be flexible, to be able to communicate clearly and hopefully without too much ambiguity, to be able to do teamwork and to plan and manage projects. Also understanding of inter-human relations when executing projects with cross-cultural and multidisciplinary participation is expected. Certainly the paradigm has changed and will continue to do so. The tendency to allocate home computers to employees is growing fast. Also short-term contract employment is a trend. It seems to be attractive to work on distance
Hansen, J., & Andersen, A. (2002, June), Engineers Of Tomorrow And Beyond Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10461
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