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Five Years Of Short Term Study Abroad Programs: Engineering In A Global And Societal Context

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

International Study Abroad Programs & Student Engagements

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.592.1 - 15.592.11



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey Evans Bucknell University

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Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Jablonski Erin Bucknell University

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Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

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Buffinton Keith Bucknell University

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Interim Dean, College of Engineering

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Richard McGinnis Bucknell University

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Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Five Years of Short-Term Study Abroad Programs: Engineering in a Global and Societal Context


A 3-week study abroad program for Bucknell University engineering students was offered five times between 2004 and 2009. The intent of the program was to provide an alternative for students who could not spend a semester or year abroad, enabling more of our students to gain some international experience before they graduate. Students receive one course credit (4 credit hours) for the program, which counts for a free elective or an engineering elective, depending on department. The program was delivered in the United Kingdom in 2004 and 2006; Argentina in 2007; Switzerland, Germany and France in 2008; and Norway and Sweden in 2009. Over 100 students and six different faculty members have participated.

This study abroad program was originally designed to address the specific educational objectives of the Civil Engineering Program which state “Graduates of the Civil Engineering program will demonstrate professional responsibility and a sensitivity to a broad range of societal concerns such as ethical, environmental, economic, regulatory and global issues.” While this educational objective was originally adopted for civil engineering students, it is applicable to all engineering students regardless of discipline. Specific educational outcomes for the program include: 1) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context, 2) Recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning, and 3) Knowledge of contemporary issues.

To meet the educational outcomes, the programs were planned thematically around issues in Transportation and Environment in the UK; Water Resources in Argentina; Energy Production, Utilization, and Policy in Switzerland, Germany and France; and Energy and Sustainability in Norway and Sweden. For example, in the most recent program, students heard a series of presentations on topics such as innovative energy generation and carbon sequestration and traveled on field trips to sites such as waste-to-energy, hydroelectric, and nuclear power plants. The students were in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Trondheim, Bergan and Oslo as the three-week program progressed. Assessment was based upon required class and field trip attendance, a daily journal and a term paper written and submitted after the students returned to the US. Self- assessment data have been gathered for all programs. The data show that the students attain a high degree of achievement of specific learning outcomes. Faculty also assessed student achievement directly through the end-of-course term papers which require students to make explicit connections between the course activities (presentations and field trips) and the learning outcomes. This direct assessment also demonstrated a high level of outcome achievement.


This paper describes a short-term international program for engineering students interested in developing their professional responsibility and sensitivity to a broad range of topics impacting engineering including ethical, environmental, economic, regulatory and global issues. While there are a number of semester and year long study abroad programs 1 , this program provides an

Evans, J., & Erin, J., & Keith, B., & McGinnis, R. (2010, June), Five Years Of Short Term Study Abroad Programs: Engineering In A Global And Societal Context Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16219

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