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Integrating Chinese Students Into Undergraduate Engineering Technology Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Recruiting, Retention and Diversity in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.916.1 - 12.916.9



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Paper Authors

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Rebecca Blust University of Dayton

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Mark Patterson University of Dayton

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

Integrating Chinese Students into Undergraduate Engineering Technology Education


Chinese students have been entering graduate engineering programs in the United States for over 25 years. However, until recently, Chinese undergraduate students have not been included in this trend. Chinese undergraduate students are now transferring into Engineering Technology programs in the United States. This paper reports on the performance of the students in technical courses and the challenges they face during the transition from Asian schools to those in the US. The data collected consists of surveys, interviews, discussions, and observations in addition to previous research. During the course of this study, several classes were monitored, surveys were taken several times, and a form of Midterm evaluation was performed. There were 12 Chinese students surveyed (eight females and four males), in several courses including Senior Seminar, Advanced Digital, Automotive Technology, Networking, Instrumentation, and Project Management. The technical components in each class are different. The experiences are largely dependent upon the student’s academic skills. Previous research has been focused mainly on the Chinese student’s grammar and communication skills in addition to their cognitive learning ability. However, this study focuses on the instructor’s teaching style and gives suggestions on how to effectively engage Chinese students. Additional commentary on student-faculty interaction is also included. The paper ends with suggestions for instructors to successfully integrate Chinese students into their classrooms. Both authors have had extensive teaching experiences in China and also teaching Chinese students in the United States.

I. Introduction

History Chinese students have been entering graduate engineering programs in the United States for over 25 years.4 However, until recently, Chinese undergraduate students have not been included in this trend. Three elements that affect this trend are; government policy, government spending and population. Through our research, we have found that university admission policies in China can be described by one word, structured. The admissions process is highly selective based solely on student test scores.2 Thus, only 10% of high school graduates have the opportunity to further their education.9 In addition, the Chinese government spends only 3.4% of their GDP on higher education and the money that is spent is targeted toward the top four out of approximately 1,400 schools.2,9 Students that are not admitted into top schools are better served looking elsewhere for their education. Finally, the number of students is far greater than the available slots at higher learning institutions. These issues combined result in an increase in the number of Chinese undergraduate students attending US schools.

Until the beginning of China’s open policy in 1993, the Chinese Ministry of Education had been prohibiting undergraduate students from attending foreign schools.9 Since that time Chinese institutions have been making partnerships with different US institutions to allow their students to obtain a US degree but because of US visa rules, only the smartest and most affluent students make it to US schools. The change in policy has opened doors for Chinese students. However, the policy

Blust, R., & Patterson, M. (2007, June), Integrating Chinese Students Into Undergraduate Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1863

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