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International Experience And Service In Developing Graduate Student Soft Skills

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Methods and Techniques in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

7

Page Numbers

14.787.1 - 14.787.7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5375

Download Count

20

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Paper Authors

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Pauline Johnson University of Alabama

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Pauline Johnson is an Associate Professor of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Philip Johnson University of Alabama

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Philip Johnson is an Associate Professor of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Beth Todd University of Alabama

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Beth Todd is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Joan Barth University of Alabama

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Joan Barth is a Research Social Scientist with the Institute of Social Science Research at the University of Alabama.

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Bettie Aruwajoye University of Alabama

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Bettie Aruwajoye is a NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellow studying Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Hannah Beatty University of Alabama

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Hannah Beatty is a NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellow studying Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Kendrick Gibson University of Alabama

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Kendrick Gibson is a NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellow studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama.

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Sarah Dunlap University of Alabama

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Sarah Dunlap is a graduate student working with the Institute of Social Science Research at the University of Alabama.

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

International Experience and Service in Developing Graduate Student Soft Skills

Introduction This paper describes the new graduate student international experiential learning course developed at the University of Alabama College of Engineering (UA-COE) at and the tools used to evaluate learning outcomes. The course was funded as part of a 2008 National Science Foundation Graduate-K12 (NSF G-K12) grant for five years, after which time it is slated for institutionalization as an elective within the college graduate curriculum. The goals of the program are the development of an understanding through experience of engineering as a rapidly globalizing profession, the challenges facing engineers in a developing country, the development of professional “soft skill” learning outcomes not easily taught in traditional classrooms and to get first-hand experience in what engineering is ultimately about: building things that make people’s lives better. Components of the program include service learning project development, management and installation and the development of leadership, teaming and communication skills set within a developing country - Peru. The service learning component was the installation of 18 solar panels in three remote Peruvian Amazon villages. The service part of the graduate course, built upon previously established UA-Peru connections, involved the conception, planning and installation of a project in remote Amazonian villages. Students live and work with villagers on installations in accordance with the Engineers Without BordersTM model. Other components involved the student generated planning and participation in a teaming exercise and deconstruction study of the ancient engineering marvel Macchu Picchu. This involved a three day hike from 9000 ft. to around 15,100 ft in the Peruvian Andes.Internal and external evaluations of student learning were performed using Likert Scale and open answer questionnaires. Assessing the experience in a post-trip survey, students rated the development of teaming, communications, and experiential learning skills as particular strengths of the program.

Background The International Engineering Service Learning Program at The University of Alabama was established to incorporate these opportunities for growth into the student learning experience to prepare students for the challenges of the modern engineering profession. It does this by preparing students to serve as effective, engaged, and ethical professionals by promoting and supporting student engagement in meaningful service for academic credit. The three hour elective General Engineering Studies (GES) course is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with the graduate students assuming more of the responsibility and leadership roles on planning and projects.

International Collaborators The engineering service experience in Peru was structured within the Engineers Without Borders™ model. This program integrates interdisciplinary engineering service learning with community partners, practitioner oversight, and faculty mentoring. Strong

Johnson, P., & Johnson, P., & Todd, B., & Barth, J., & Aruwajoye, B., & Beatty, H., & Gibson, K., & Dunlap, S. (2009, June), International Experience And Service In Developing Graduate Student Soft Skills Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5375

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: © 2009 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