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International Strategic Alliances To Strengthen Engineering Education: Beyond The Learning Factory

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Inter. collaboratory efforts in engr edu

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.736.1 - 7.736.11



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Paper Authors

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Uriel Cukierman

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Jorge Vélez-Arocho

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Ciristián Vial

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Miguel Torres-Febus

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John Spencer

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Lueny Morell

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Session 2660

International Strategic Alliances to Strengthen Engineering Education: Beyond the Learning Factory

Lueny Morell, Jorge I. Vélez-Arocho, Miguel A. Torres University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Cristián Vial/Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Uriel Cukierman/National Technological University of Argentina John Spencer/Microsoft Research & Development Center


In 1994, NSF awarded three institutions (Penn State, University of Washington and University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez) and a national laboratory (Sandia National Labs) a grant to develop a novel program focused on product realization/manufacturing engineering. In strong collaboration with industry, this team created and institutionalized the so-called Learning Factory. This successful and nationally recognized program focuses on hands-on, practice based engineering, continuous assessment and industry collaboration. In view of its success and due to its alignment with the new engineering accreditation set by ABET, in 1998 NSF and Raytheon Corporation awarded the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) grants to disseminate the program model at national and international forums through workshops. UPRM’s Center for Hemispheric Cooperation with its long history of international cooperation in education and research activities, provided the leadership and support for the outreach initiative. Moreover, in 2001, Microsoft Research extends these grants to offer workshops in selected institutions throughout Latin America, with which they are piloting a university relations program. Since then, more than 600 faculty and administrators from US and foreign institutions have participated in workshops to learn and brainstorm about opportunities to adopt or adapt the program. One of the major outcomes of this initiative is the establishment of strategic alliances among participants in different countries.

This paper describes how these international collaborative partnerships have been established and are being nurtured, what have been the benefits so far for each constituent, and what have been the lessons learned. The driving forces (e.g., accreditation activities), the key elements in creating and sustaining successful international alliances, and the outcomes achieved to date will be shared. The paper will present points of view of the different constituents: workshop leaders, sponsors, workshop participants and university administrators. In addition, the paper will explore future collaborative activities among existing partners and opportunities beyond. The experience shows that these types of alliances are paramount to strengthen and foster growth of engineering education in this global economy.


Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Cukierman, U., & Vélez-Arocho, J., & Vial, C., & Torres-Febus, M., & Spencer, J., & Morell, L. (2002, June), International Strategic Alliances To Strengthen Engineering Education: Beyond The Learning Factory Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10267

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