Asee peer logo

Evaluating the Impact of Training on Increasing Cross Culture Competency

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Joan B Schuman Missouri University of Science and Technology

visit author page

Dr. Joan Schuman is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Missouri S&T. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Arkansas and completed her Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi. Schuman is a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified through the Project Management Institute. She worked for several years in the aerospace industry with the Boeing Company initially as a design engineer and then later in systems engineering. At Missouri S&T, she teaches a variety of courses emphasizing Project Management and Financial Management for both undergraduate and graduate level courses. Her research interests focus on engineering education with a special interest in Service Learning and project management. Schuman is also the Departmental Experiential Learning Coordinator. She has developed her undergraduate project management class into a Service Learning class where the students work with area communities on real projects that benefit both the communities and students.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Abstract: In our global world, engineering students have a greater need to develop cultural competency. As new engineers enter the workforce, they will be exposed to global projects through industry and possibly through outreach for which they will need to be competent culturally. Programs that expose students to different cultures are available to some during college, such as study abroad programs or Engineers Without Borders (EWB). But whether these experiences increase one’s cultural competency is still not clear. One study, using a cross-culturally valid assessment, showed no evidence that students who traveled on EWB projects saw an increase in their cultural competency after traveling and working briefly in a foreign land. I wanted to explore whether training students in cultural differences would in fact improve their competencies. In this paper, I evaluated the effectiveness of cultural training on intercultural competency by using the Intercultural Develop Inventory (IDI) survey, which is a cross-culturally valid assessment tool, to measure student’s cultural competency pre and post classroom training. The training was part of a Global Project Management course in which the habits and cultural differences of several national cultures were analyzed and discussed in addition to the project management curriculum. The students that were surveyed were graduate level in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department. Over the course of 7 semesters, 131 students were evaluated. The students completed the cultural competency survey during the first week of class and then again at the end of the term. The results, however, showed no significant change in the average cultural competency for this group of students. Possible reasons for these results are discussed in the paper.

Schuman, J. B. (2020, June), Evaluating the Impact of Training on Increasing Cross Culture Competency Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34599

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: © 2020 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