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Global Engineering Design Symposium: Engaging the Sociocultural Dimensions of Engineering Problem Solving

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Socio-cultural Dimensions of Community Engagement

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.644.1 - 23.644.17



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Paper Authors


Brent K Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is assistant professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He is also an associate director of Purdue's Global Engineering Program and leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group. 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 professional practice.

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Anne Elizabeth Dare Purdue University

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Anne Dare is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University, and holds a joint appointment with the Global Engineering Program (GEP) as its Global Design Team Coordinator. She received her B.S. in 2008 and M.S.E. in 2010 from Purdue University and was a member of GEP's pilot Global Design Team. As an undergraduate, Dare spent several summers working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as an Agricultural Engineer Trainee. Dare’s M.S.E. thesis involved developing a model of the attributes that define an engineer’s global competence and assessing those attributes in students participating in international experiences, including Global Design Teams. In her Ph.D. work, Dare will focus her dissertation on the limitations of treated wastewater reuse in agriculture from the perspectives of technology, policy, and public perception with case studies in Qatar, Tunisia, Palestinian West Bank, and United States.

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Julia D Thompson Purdue University, West Lafayette


Tiago R Forin Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Tiago Forin is currently a student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Florida State University in 2006 and his master's degree in Environmental Engineering from Purdue University in 2008. While in the School of Engineering Education, he works as a graduate research assistant in the X-Roads Research Group and has an interest in cross-disciplinary practice and engineering identity development.

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Global Engineering Design Symposium: Revealing the Sociocultural Aspects of Engineering Problem SolvingGlobal service learning continues to gain prominence at many engineering schools. At PurdueUniversity, for example, three main programs offer students global engineering projectexperience while serving the needs of the global poor, namely Engineers Without Boarders(EWB), Global Design Teams (GDTs) and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS).Participating students work to create technical solutions to address a developing community'sneeds, either for academic credit or as an extracurricular activity. Students working on suchprojects can often tap into the technical resources and expertise needed to carry out their work,including through participating faculty and staff. However, preparing students for the non-technical aspects of their projects is often more difficult since it requires that students learn howto identify and grapple with the kinds of social, cultural, and political considerations thatfrequently emerge when working on real-world problems in developing contexts. To address thisissue Purdue's Global Engineering Program (GEP) organized an inaugural Global EngineeringDesign Symposium (GEDS) in early 2012. This half-day event attracted more than 90 students,faculty, and staff, and featured presentations, panels, and interactive exercises covering topicssuch as global competency, transdisciplinary teamwork, human-centered design, andstakeholder/needs analysis. This paper offers a detailed description of the symposium.Additionally, we report pre- and post-event assessment data from participating students,including: 1) demographics, 2) results from a series of Political and Social Involvement surveyquestions, 3) quantitative evaluation scores for all major event components, and 4) qualitativeresults from three open-ended event evaluation questions. In summary, the event was viewedvery favorably by most students, with many specifically noting the value of hearing aboutspecific stories and cases from the speakers and engaging topics like the role of national/localcultures in engineering problem solving. The major goals of this paper include characterizing theengineering students who opt into these kinds of programs, providing faculty and staff at otherinstitutions with inspiration and guidance for organizing similar kinds of training opportunities,and exploring strategies for systematically assessing the effectiveness of such events. This workis important for identifying how engineering curricula can be expanded to address a wider rangeof technical, professional, and global competencies, while allowing students and faculty to makea difference in the wider world.

Jesiek, B. K., & Dare, A. E., & Thompson, J. D., & Forin, T. R. (2013, June), Global Engineering Design Symposium: Engaging the Sociocultural Dimensions of Engineering Problem Solving Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19658

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