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Increasing International Awareness Of Engineering Students

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.746.1 - 11.746.10



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Paper Authors


Angela Bielefeldt University of Colorado-Boulder

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Dr. Bielefeldt is an Associate Professor and a licensed P.E. in the State of Colorado. She teaches Civil Engineering courses for freshman, seniors, and graduate students on topics including hazardous waste management, solid waste management, and bioremediation. She is a co-faculty advisor for the Engineers Without Borders student chapter at CU-Boulder and is working with other faculty at CU to start a new emphasis in Engineering for Developing Communities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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

Increasing the International Awareness of Engineering Students Abstract

Changes have been made over the past two to three years in the 1-credit “Introduction to Civil Engineering” course at the University of Colorado to incorporate international aspects. This promotes aspects advocated by the National Academy of Engineering in “The Engineer of 2020” report: “…we must develop and implement more ecologically sustainable practices… in industrialized countries and developing countries alike [using]…systems-based strategies and holistic approaches that embed social and cultural objectives.” The goals of the course include describing civil engineering, what civil engineers do, providing a framework for evaluating ethical behavior, and showing the breadth and excitement of the civil engineering profession. Case study examples of civil engineers and civil engineering projects now include humanitarian aid in refugee camps and the Three Gorges Dam in China. Students are required to attend a meeting of an engineering professional society, and the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has proven to be a popular option. The recent changes in this course fit with a long-term plan to create an “Engineering for Developing Communities” certificate program for undergraduate students in the College of Engineering.


An awareness of international issues is increasingly important for engineers, who are now competing and working in a global economy. In addition, it is important for engineers to understand that their work can have global implications and may impact the longterm viability of life on the planet. Beyond humanitarian motivations, we ignore the developing world at our own peril. Their development may have worldwide impacts such as global warming and global circulation of pesticides.

According to the ABET criteria for accrediting engineering programs1, graduating students must have: (h) [an understanding of] the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context (c) an ability to design a system... to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability (j) a knowledge of contemporary issues International case studies provide one tool for achieving these goals.

Furthermore, the National Academy of Engineering’s “Engineer of 2020” report2 notes: • we must develop and implement more ecologically sustainable practices… in industrialized countries and developing countries alike • The engineer of 2020 will have to understand how to adapt solutions [suitable for industrialized countries], in an ethical way, to the constraints of developing countries

Bielefeldt, A. (2006, June), Increasing International Awareness Of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--716

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