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Gaining Global Perspective Through Terms Abroad

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.590.1 - 8.590.9



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Jewell

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

Session 2793

Gaining Global Perspective through Terms Abroad

Thomas K. Jewell, Ph.D., P.E. Professor of Civil Engineering Union College Schenectady, NY 12308


Beginning with the class of 1999, all engineering graduates from Union College have been required to complete the “Other Languages; Other Cultures; Other Disciplines” portion of the College General Education program. Students can meet this requirement through completing three courses in a foreign language, completing a three course cultural diversity track (Africana, East Asian, or Latin American Studies), or participating in a variety of programs that require travel abroad. Prior to 1999 engineering students were excused from this portion of the General Education Program because of the perceived rigidity and intensity of the engineering majors. However, with the increasing emphasis on the globalization of engineering, the engineering division felt it could no longer afford to stay isolated. Therefore, the engineering programs modified their curricula to allow students to be away for up to a whole term and still graduate on time. Experience thus far has shown that almost all of the engineering students opt for actual foreign travel. This paper will describe each of the options for foreign study in some detail, discuss the curricular revisions implemented to allow students to participate, and compare present and future methods for assessing the value and impact of the foreign study experiences on engineering graduates.


Union College is a liberal arts institution with engineering and computer science. It is located in Schenectady, NY, and was one of the first colleges in the country to offer a degree in engineering (Civil Engineering, 1845). Out of the total student population of slightly more than 2000, approximately 300, or 15%, are engineers and computer scientists. This proportion is lower than historical levels, with the target for growth being to increase the proportion to 20%.

Union has traditionally maintained an active terms abroad program. Approximately 70% of all Union students go on some form of study experience in a foreign country during their tenure at the College. Union ranks near the top of all schools in the nation in percentage of students going abroad.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Jewell, T. (2003, June), Gaining Global Perspective Through Terms Abroad Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11963

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