Asee peer logo

Global Engineering Attributes And Attainment Pathways: A Study Of Student Perceptions

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Global Engineering Education: Intercultural Awareness and International Experience

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.619.1 - 15.619.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Brent Jesiek Purdue University

author page

Deepika Sangam Purdue University, West Lafayette

author page

Juila Thompson Purdue University

author page

Yating Chang Purdue University

author page

Demetra Evangelou Purdue University

Download Paper |

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

Global Engineering Attributes and Attainment Pathways: A Study of Student Perceptions

Keywords: attainment pathways, attributes, competencies, engineer of 2020, global engineering, global engineering education, student perceptions, survey


Many engineering schools are proactively responding to the challenges of globalization, including by enhancing their international profiles and developing global educational programs and initiatives. Some schools are placing particular emphasis on preparing engineers for practice in dynamic, global workplaces. Yet what abilities and qualities define the globally competent engineer, and what types of experiences help support attainment of such attributes? This paper reports on the results of a survey of undergraduate and graduate students at Purdue University (n=231) that was designed to elicit: a) perceptions of desirable qualities and abilities for global engineers, b) self-evaluation of abilities in each of the identified areas, and c) awareness of possible pathways for enhancing one’s own competence in each of the identified areas. The survey instrument is unique in that it presents students with a realistic global engineering scenario, and then prompts them to pick the specific abilities and qualities they think would be most essential for completing the described assignment. The list of 15 attributes presented to respondents is focused on the professional and global dimensions of engineering practice, and is based on relevant attributes from Purdue University’s Engineer of 2020 initiative. In addition to presenting aggregate results from the survey, we use demographic data to discuss some similarities and differences across different sub-populations. We conclude with a discussion of ongoing and future work, including similar surveys planned for faculty and industry populations.


Many universities are encouraging global awareness, education, and citizenship among students and staff, including through cross-national research collaborations, partnerships with foreign institutions, study abroad programs, recruitment of international students and teaching staff, distance education initiatives, and international conferences and workshops.1,2 In addition, many influential stakeholders have been urging universities to cultivate a new generation of “global engineers” who are prepared to practice effectively in an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and rapidly changing world.3,4,5,6 ABET’s EC2000 accreditation criteria, established in 1997, lends further support to this movement by requiring that graduates “understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.”7

Schools like Purdue University are now embracing this global agenda. For example, specific objectives noted in the university’s latest strategic plan include: “expand[ing] pathways to global education,” “developing successful global citizens and leaders,” “prepar[ing] graduates for a dynamic global workplace,” and “graduating students with global credentials.”8 The plan also calls for increasing student participation in “transformational learning opportunities,” including those with global dimensions. Purdue’s College of Engineering has similarly indicated that producing “graduates [who are] effective in global context” is one of its three strategic goals for

Jesiek, B., & Sangam, D., & Thompson, J., & Chang, Y., & Evangelou, D. (2010, June), Global Engineering Attributes And Attainment Pathways: A Study Of Student Perceptions Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16842

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: © 2010 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