June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.638.1 - 10.638.11
Foreign Language and Cultural Understanding in Engineering Curricula
Prof. Sarah J. Smith Purdue University North Central
Today’s transnational organizations recruit engineers who are multilingual and possess cultural understanding. Foreign language diversity and cultural understanding enrich both the corporation and the university. Global diversity deepens an organization’s ability to establish and maintain a competitive edge. Progress has been made in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting engineers with foreign language and cultural skills. How should engineering educators support corporate goals and encourage placement of graduating engineers in a global environment?
Objectives: • Profile engineering/technology academicians from China, India, South America and the Middle East to enhance understanding of country differences • Share Fortune 500 transnational engineering recruitment preferences • Explore marketing techniques to successfully attract international students • Create an environment for retention of all students
Profile 1: China
Higher education opportunities in China are very limited as compared to the United States (US).1 The Chinese government heavily funds economic growth, yet this is not the case for education. The government of China invests merely 2.3% of its GNP 2 into the educational system, as compared to an investment of 5.4% in the US. An expanded list of GNP expenditures for education is provided in the appendix. China’s population increased rapidly and educational investment remained status quo. Thus, admission into a Chinese university is possible for a very small percentage of aspiring students.
Chinese students learn English as a required subject for the Chinese College Entrance Examination. The English learned, however, is text book. It is common for Chinese students to be able to read and write English well, however, their pronunciation lags. The level of English required for Chinese entrance exams is not adequate to compete scholastically on the university level in the US. Thus, students often enroll in English courses prior to or in conjunction with studying at a US university.
In general, Chinese students are well disciplined. Chinese junior and senior level schools levy great pressure on students. Much time and energy is required to compete. Summer break is approximately two months versus the US average of three months. Schools offer “extra study” on Saturdays, and an additional three to four weeks of “extra study” during the summer months.
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Smith, S. (2005, June), Foreign Language And Cultural Understanding In Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14473
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