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Global Engineering Competency: Assessment Tools and Training Strategies

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Global and Intercultural Competency

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Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He also leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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Natascha Trellinger Buswell University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16

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Natascha Trellinger Buswell is an assistant teaching professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Irvine. She received her B.S. in aerospace engineering from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. in engineering education from the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She is particularly interested in teaching conceptions and methods and graduate level engineering education.

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Qin Zhu Colorado School of Mines Orcid 16x16

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Qin Zhu is Research Assistant Professor in the Ethics Across Campus Program and the Division of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at Colorado School of Mines, where he is also helping with managing the Daniels Fund Faculty Fellows Program that provides scholarly and grant support for faculty to explore ways to integrate ethics into their applied science and engineering curricula. Qin is also completing his second PhD degree in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Qin holds a bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering and a PhD in Philosophy (concentration in Ethics of Technology and Engineering) from Dalian University of Technology (DUT) (Dalian, China). Qin has broad teaching and research interests in the ethical, historical-cultural, and policy perspectives of engineering practice and education. His research has drawn on theories, methods, and practices from a wide range of fields including philosophy of technology, engineering ethics, engineering education, and Confucian ethics. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Science and Engineering Ethics, Engineering Studies, History of Education, and Technology in Society.

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As many colleges and universities continue to expand and refine global learning opportunities for engineering students they face a complex array of challenges. As one among many such concerns, administrators and other stakeholders increasingly expect that costly investments in international programming generate substantial benefits and impacts, including but not limited to growing the number of students served. Further, many programs are being asked to produce hard evidence of how research, work, study, and service abroad can enhance student learning and growth, synergistic with rising accountability pressures across the higher education landscape.

Fortunately, dozens of assessment instruments are available to measure many different facets of inter/cross-cultural competence, global competence, and related constructs. Some tools, such as the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), are also synergistic with training programs designed to promote student learning and development. However, debates persist about what tools are most valid and useful for assessing different kinds of interventions. Further, there remains a lack of high quality, validated assessment tools that are specifically focused on global engineering practice. As a consequence, administrators and researchers alike often find it difficult to collect robust, convincing evidence of how programs are supporting student growth and learning. There also remain unanswered questions about what program formats and training interventions have the largest measurable impacts on participants.

This paper responds to these challenges and pressures by introducing two tools that can be used for assessment and instructional purposes. We particularly emphasize the Global Engineering Competency – Situational Judgment Test (GEC-SJT) as a behavioral measure of competency. We more specifically present and discuss one sample assessment question drawn from a larger collection of scenarios focused on engineering in the Chinese national/cultural context. First, we review some relevant literature and background information about our larger research project. Second, we explain how the sample scenario was initially developed, as well as how we created a scoring key and collected validity evidence for the scenario through multiple rounds of data collection with subject matter experts (SMEs, i.e., practicing engineers). Third, we discuss how this scenario can be used for assessment purposes in the context of global engineering programs. Fourth, we present an instructional guide for those who might wish to use this type of scenario for training. Fifth and finally, we provide information about a complementary assessment tool we developed, the self-report Global Engineering Competency Scale (GECS).

This paper is expected to be of interest to faculty, staff, and administrators who are interested in assessing global engineering programs, as well as researchers who wish to measure global learning among engineering students, practicing professionals, and other populations. We also expect that instructors will benefit from this paper’s discussion of scenario-based instruction as an accessible and impactful way to promote global competency and other professional learning outcomes among students in engineering and other professional fields. This work may especially resonate with those who are eager to help current and future engineers appreciate – and more effectively navigate – the kinds of cross-cultural dynamics often faced in global technical work.

Jesiek, B. K., & Buswell, N. T., & Zhu, Q. (2018, June), Global Engineering Competency: Assessment Tools and Training Strategies Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30559

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