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Integrating a portfolio of short with long-term international programs in the engineering curriculum

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2015 ASEE International Forum


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 14, 2015

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks - Session II

Tagged Topic

International Forum

Page Count


Page Numbers

19.20.1 - 19.20.10



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Paper Authors


Sigrid -- Berka University of Rhode Island

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Dr. Sigrid Berka is the Executive Director of the International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island, and also the Director of the German and the Chinese IEP, responsible for building academic programs with exchange partners abroad, internship placements for IEP’s dual degree students, corporate relations and fundraising for the IEP. Bi-annually, the IEP organizes the Colloquium on International Engineering Education. Under Sigrid’s leadership, the IEP received NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for innovative campus internationalization (2011), and the Andrew Heiskell Award for an innovative study abroad program (2012) by the Institute for International Education. She was Co-PI of the winning grant proposal (PI Megan Echevarría) chosen as one of four to launch President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative in the Americas (2014). Sigrid serves as Co-Editor, with Damon Rarick, of the Online Journal for Global Engineering Education (OJGEE) as well as on the Provost’s Global Education Steering Committee. She also serves on the DAAD Alumni Association Board. Since she began working at URI in 2009, the IEP has seen an enrollment increase of 18 % and added an Italian branch. Sigrid has raised close to a million dollars in corporate, foundation, government and private funds for the IEP. She held prior positions as Coordinator, then Managing Director of the MIT Germany Program (1996-2009) and as Assistant Professor of German Studies at Barnard College (1990-96). She has published a book and numerous articles on 19th and 20th German Literature, co-authored an intermediate German textbook, and has more recently published several articles in the area of International Engineering Education.

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Emily Ann Serman University of Rhode Island

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Megan Mercedes Echevarria University of Rhode Island


Lars O. Erickson University of Rhode Island

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Lars Erickson is Director of the French International Engineering Program and Professor of French at the University of Rhode Island. His research focuses on scientific and professional literature of eighteenth-century France. In addition, he has published on the teaching of French and on the role of experiential education in the language curriculum. His work has appeared in journals including French Review, Australian Journal of French Studies, Online Journal of Global Engineering Education, and Symposium. His current project is a textbook on French for engineering.

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Silke A. Scholz

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Anette Geithner

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Developing a portfolio of short- and long-term international programs into the engineering curriculumThe paper discusses development of a portfolio of various international programs, how they canbe effectively integrated into the engineering program, and in what way they prepare students inan ever more intensive way for their “capstone year” abroad: 1) J-term faculty-led travel courses geared towards familiarizing younger engineering students with the history, culture and technology of various countries are important for retaining students in a challenging major and making them enthusiastic about studying, doing research and/or interning abroad for a longer term at a more advanced stage of their studies. 2) Summer faculty-led service learning and language immersion programs abroad and on campus are effective modules to keep students interest in things international while getting practical experience in applying their technical and language skills and have them engage with a new culture and engineering environment in a protected but intense way. 3) The two short-term modules described above lead up to a year-long study/internship capstone year abroad where students “go it alone” – they can meet the challenge having been prepared technically and linguistically for a long-term stay abroad, first in a group of peers (studying at a partner university), then ultimately taking off on their own to various internship sites Strategies to develop this diverse international engagement portfolio, as well as curricular integration, credit transfer and overcoming of hurdles will be discussed. We will share lessons learned and best practices as well as assessment results from J-term engineering focused travel experiences to Chile, France, Germany, from summer experiential service/research learning modules in Guatemala and summer language/culture immersion courses on campus and in China as well as from our expertise in having developed effective long-term study/internship sequences in China, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.

Berka, S., & Serman, E. A., & Echevarria, M. M., & Erickson, L. O., & Scholz, S. A., & Geithner, A. (2015, June), Integrating a portfolio of short with long-term international programs in the engineering curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--17143

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