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Impact Of Cross Cultural Study Experiences On Cultural Sensitivity Development

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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

15.668.1 - 15.668.18



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Paper Authors


Larry Bland John Brown University

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Larry Bland is currently Chair, Division of Engineering and Construction Management and Associate Professor of Engineering at John Brown University. Dr. Bland has been at John Brown since 2002. Prior to his academic career, he spent over 30 years in industry. His industrial career moved from engineering to executive management with significant international experience. Since joining John Brown, Dr. Bland has been active in expanding undergraduate research opportunities for students and assessing university study abroad programs.

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

Impact of Cross-Cultural Study Experiences on Cultural Sensitivity Development Abstract

Research was performed looking at cultural sensitivity development of students participating in cross-cultural study experiences. The primary research focus was short-term, 4-6 weeks, study abroad opportunities with comparative data taken from both semester aboard studies and on- campus cultural studies. The research was mixed methods using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) for quantitative sensitivity development measurement and qualitative interviews to place that data in context for improved understanding. The quantitative data measures cultural sensitivity along a continuum defined by the Developmental Model for Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). The continuum identifies intercultural sensitivity from the strong ethno-centric position of denial through the culturally normative position of minimization to a fully integrated, ethno- relative sensitivity position. Data have been gathered from undergraduate students participating in courses with pre- and post-testing using the IDI. On returning to campus, students met for focus group interviews where they could discuss their experiences and qualitative data could be evaluated for contextual framing. Data were gathered from courses offered over a three year period.

The initial research purpose was to determine if change is taking place on an individual basis. The data reveal a group dynamic rather than individual change. This group dynamic existed in both short-term and semester long scenarios that were evaluated. This dynamic was not found in the on-campus courses. Qualitative data help to understand these patterns and differences.


To be effective engineers and global citizens, today’s engineering students must understand the global nature of society and the complexities of a world economy. Efforts have been made by universities to incorporate global initiatives into their curriculum. Over the past six years, efforts have been on-going at John Brown University (JBU) to address this issue. This article addresses assessment results from current global educational experiences and evaluates how our courses creating change in students.

The National Academy of Engineering projects that, because of growing political and economic ties among nations, engineers will discover that their designs have much broader and more significant impacts than they once did. As a result, engineering practice will be driven by attention not only to the familiar topics of intellectual property, project management and cost- benefit constraints, as well as multilingual influences, cultural diversity, moral/religious repercussions, global/international impacts, and national security.(National Academy of Engineering, 2004)

The ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 (ABET, 2004) was targeted to make engineering education programs more relevant, attractive and connected. Action items were identified to provide a better education in the professional skills without detriment to the technical skills. An important element of these criteria is the emphasis on assessing the following professional skills:


Bland, L. (2010, June), Impact Of Cross Cultural Study Experiences On Cultural Sensitivity Development Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16409

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