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Going big: scaling up international engineering education to whole college initiatives

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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

Curriculum and Program Developments, Exchanges, Collaborations, and Partnerships

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.646.1 - 23.646.18

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Paper Authors


Eck Doerry Northern Arizona University

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Eck Doerry is an associate professor in Computer Science at Northern Arizona University. His research interests fall mainly within the areas of Groupware Systems, focusing on computer support for widely-distributed research and learning communities; and in Engineering Pedagogy, focusing on interdisciplinary and international teaming approaches to teaching engineering design. Internationalization of engineering education has been a particular passion for Dr. Doerry. He has been a leader in internationalization of Engineering at NAU since arriving in 1999, expanding this initiative to the Natural Sciences starting in 2005. Significant milestones in this area include the development of an effective model of reciprocal “exploratory trips” to motivate international study in engineering; the International Engineering and Natural Sciences certificate program; and the Global Engineering College project, an NSF-funded exploration of a comprehensively internationalized curricular model for engineering education. These efforts culminated in 2010 with the creation of the Global Science and Engineering Program (GSEP), an innovative initiative to establish a comprehensive framework for internationalization uniformly spanning all engineering, math and natural science disciplines at NAU.

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Harvey Charles Northern Arizona University

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Dr. Harvey Charles is vice provost for International Education at Northern Arizona University. He provides institutional leadership on strategic planning around global education, helps to facilitate global learning opportunities for students, supports faculty development opportunities through international teaching and research, and consults with colleges and universities on curriculum and campus internationalization. The Global Science and Engineering Program is one of the signature programs housed in the Center for International Education that he directs.

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GOING  BIG:    SCALING  UP  INTERNATIONAL  ENGINEERING  EDUCATION  TO  WHOLE  COLLEGE  INITIATIVES    Globalization  has  been  the  predominant  economic  theme  for  the  past  decade,  leading  to  broad  global  distribution  of  research,  design,  and  production  teams  and  facilities  spanning  the  full  spectrum  of  science  and  engineering  disciplines.      Modern  engineering  graduates  will  be  expected  to  communicate  and  collaborate  across  cultural,  linguistic,  and  national  boundaries  on  a  daily  basis;  globalization  of  the  labor  market  means  that  U.S.  engineering  graduates  must  be  prepared  to  compete  with  international  candidates  for  choice  positions.        Many  institutions  have  responded  to  these  new  imperatives  by  integrating  global  perspectives  in  their  engineering  curricula,  and  developing  new  international  opportunities  directed  specifically  at  engineers,  ranging  from  study-­‐abroad  to  international  internship  opportunities.    A  small  but  growing  handful  of  prescient  institutions  have  taken  this  commitment  to  the  next  level,  making  internationalized  engineering  education  a  hallmark  of  one  or  more  of  their  engineering  programs  and  creating  more  or  less  formal  “international  tracks”  in  those  areas.    Initial  data  on  participation  and  outcomes  in  such  programs  has  been  exceedingly  positive:    students  attracted  to  such  programs  tend  to  be  ambitious  and  academically  gifted,  and  graduates  are  regularly  awarded  with  choice  positions  with  major  global  business  or  research  entities.        A  significant  obstacle  to  broad,  nationwide  deployment  of  internationalization  in  engineering  is  the  narrow,  custom-­‐constructed  nature  of  most  existing  programs.    Many  of  these  began  as  small  experimental  initiatives,  based  on  an  a  particular  faculty  contact  or  an  existing  relationship  to  a  particular  partnering  university  abroad.    This  makes  such  initiatives  both  difficult  to  scale  beyond  the  natural  capacity  of  the  initial  partnership  and,  more  importantly,  difficult  to  emulate  in  other  departments,  colleges,  or  institutions.    What  is  needed  is  a  robust,  broadly-­‐applicable  model  and  a  set  of  best  practices  for  pursuing  internationalization  of  engineering  education  on  a  college-­‐wide  basis.        In  this  paper,  we  provide  a  starting  point  for  this  conversation  by  discussing  our  development  of  the  Global  Science  and  Engineering  Program  (GSEP),  a  broad  internationalization  initiative  uniformly  spanning  all  engineering,  math,  and  natural  science  programs  offered  at  our  institution.      As  a  top-­‐down  initiative  to  offer  comprehensive  STEM  internationalization  tracks  on  a  broad,  college-­‐wide  scale,  GSEP  has  had  to  overcome  a  range  of  planning  and  logistic  obstacles  not  encountered  in  smaller  custom  initiatives.    Our  analysis  of  the  challenges  and  solutions  encountered  in  establishing  GSEP  offers  insights  and  best  practices  for  other  institutions  exploring  large-­‐scale  internationalization  of  their  engineering  and  science  programs.    More  broadly,  GSEP  represents  a  generic  model  for  elegantly  integrating  comprehensive  internationalization  opportunities  within  existing,  traditional  engineering  programs  and  curricula.  

Doerry, E., & Charles, H. (2013, June), Going big: scaling up international engineering education to whole college initiatives Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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