New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Increasing Intercultural Competencies for Participants of a Women in Engineering Mentoring Program
With a growing number of international students entering engineering in a large Midwestern university, the Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) recognized the need to provide ways to foster cross-cultural understanding, to further integrate international students into the program, and to be cognizant of international student needs while integrating diversity activities into WIEP mentoring programs. This study addresses ways to effectively immerse domestic and international students in cross-cultural activities to improve diversity awareness and prepare participants for a career in a global workforce.
In order to meet these objectives, the student Leadership Team (LT) for the WIEP Mentees & Mentors (M&M) program, under the supervision of the WIEP Associate Director, created two positions titled “Diversity Liaisons” to educate over 300 M&M participants on diversity and inclusion through cultural immersion activities and to provide a resource for international students during their college careers. Beginning with pilot programming in 2013 and continuing today on a larger scale, monthly and semester activities are organized to encourage cultural awareness.
One example of how we incorporate diversity awareness into existing programming is that each M&M monthly meeting for participants includes a quotation from “Foreign to Familiar” by Sarah A. Lanier and an activity to expound upon the learning objective of the quotation. One social event per semester also focuses on cultural immersion. Collaborations with multicultural groups on Purdue’s campus have also aided this study.
Impact of this initiative within M&M will be presented through the results of participant surveys and focus groups. The results suggest that through new multicultural initiatives, participants show an increased understanding of cultures different from their own. A significant number of participants are enthusiastic about learning about cross-cultural differences and attending cultural appreciation events and have learned how to apply these skills in a team or professional setting due to the study efforts.
With an increase in diversity awareness and appreciation, both domestic and international students will be equipped to excel in a global workforce. This study concludes by providing a basis for future initiatives to increase the retention of international students within our program and to increase the multi-cultural awareness of our participants.
Yip, N. X., & Ullmer, M. L., & Groh, J. L., & Render, D. (2016, June), Increasing Multi-Cultural Awareness in Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25674
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