June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.711.1 - 13.711.8
Implementing International Requirements in Undergraduate Industrial Engineering Programs Abstract
Recognizing that engineering is an increasingly global profession, the Department of Industrial Engineering (IE) at the University of Pittsburgh is committed to providing its graduates with the skills they need to compete on an international basis. This commitment has led to the recent development and institutionalizing of an international requirement for all of our undergraduate students. All students will be required to take course work with a global studies emphasis. Most of our students will also participate in one of any of a number of available international travel/study experiences. The experience can range from a full semester abroad to an approved academic program with a short term foreign travel component. Factors influencing the decision to require students to obtain this international experience included the increasing demand for engineers capable of working in a global organization and who possess cross-cultural awareness and understanding of global business practices. In addition, ABET outcomes h (the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context) and j (knowledge of contemporary issues) have certainly influenced the move. In this paper, we will describe our international requirement and discuss and compare it with similar efforts currently underway at other engineering programs across the country.
Background and Motivation
Universities across the U.S. now recognize that responding to globalization is key to the success of American competitiveness. This global theme was defined and identified in well known works such as Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat  as well as Educating the Engineer of 2020  from the National Academy of Engineering. International experience actually provides students with a distinct advantage to potential employers. The cover story of the summer 2007 edition of the American Society for Engineering Education’s Prism  magazine provides further evidence of this trend. Most companies and organizations no longer conduct business from a regional or even U.S. perspective, but rather from a global perspective. Because the IE field traverses both the engineering and business world, it is particularly important that IE curricula provide students with this advantage.
A challenge facing engineering educators is how best to take advantage of the global, flattened, technology-enabled playing field to improve engineering education, and as Friedman, and others have proposed, enable the U.S. to retain its lead in innovation and university education and research. Further, to meet and exceed accreditation requirements, it is necessary to demonstrate that program graduates have the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context as well as knowledge of contemporary issues. 
Bursic, K., & Needy, K. (2008, June), Implementing International Requirements In Undergraduate Industrial Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3996
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015