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Implementation Of An International Multidisciplinary Engineering Education Consortium

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Global Engineering Education: Developments, Implementations

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.692.1 - 14.692.15



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Paper Authors

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Aurenice Oliveira Michigan Technological University

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Ivan Lima North Dakota State University

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


Abstract: In recent years, the growing integration of economies and societies around the world has required that graduates of all institutions and disciplines be prepared to work in an economy that is now best seen as essentially international. Global markets are dictating the way that national economies around the world design, distribute, and consume goods and services. Engineers are in the midst of this dynamic development. Most large engineering projects currently require multi-national teams of multi-disciplinary professionals to work together and, therefore, a better understanding of the global economy, communication skills, cultural awareness, and interpersonal skills are critical to engineers. In this context, universities around the world are increasingly moving to establish international partnerships in their education and research programs. This growing trend is fuelled by many factors, including the need to give students the education they require to work in an increasingly globalized world.

In this paper, the authors discuss the key concepts of an engineering educational consortium between the United States and Brazil, formed with the objective to establish a sustainable exchange of undergraduate students in engineering between the U.S. and Brazil. The consortium is identifying the main barriers that currently prevent the existence of exchange of engineering students between the U.S. and Brazil that is consistent with the geographic location and the geopolitical importance of these two countries, so that these barriers can be addressed during the program. The consortium is focusing engineering education in the disciplines of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering technology, with emphasis in the area of renewable and alternative sources of energy. The authors describe the preliminary stages of this multidisciplinary project, and the goals and progress made in first year of the four- year project (October’07 to September’11). The consortium is under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) on the U.S. side, and under the auspices of the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES) of the Brazilian Ministry of Education, on the Brazilian side.

One of the main purposes of international programs is to provide students value-added technical and cultural experiences. Engineering students typically do not have the same variety of International Program offerings as students of other disciplines have, such as humanities or social science students. Our consortium partnering institutions focus on use the exchange of engineering students and faculty to study questions of credit equivalents, shared curriculum, distance education and professional practice. Our program also focus on actively pursue sustainable partnerships with the regional industry to provide internship opportunities to complement the education and the cultural exchange of the students in order to illustrate how two different cultures approach a common problem. Specific activities in the program include language preparation, Web based teleconferencing using voice over Internet, pre- and post- departure team building and distance education to allow students rapid emergence into the host country’s culture.

Oliveira, A., & Lima, I. (2009, June), Implementation Of An International Multidisciplinary Engineering Education Consortium Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4522

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