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Internationalization and Civil Engineering Program Innovation

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2014 ASEE International Forum


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 14, 2014

Start Date

June 14, 2014

End Date

June 14, 2014

Conference Session

Track 2 - Session 2

Tagged Topic

Curriculum and Lab Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

20.26.1 - 20.26.8



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Paper Authors


Robert W Fuessle Bradley University

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Dr. Robert W. Fuessle is a professor serving Bradley University for the past 31 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Monmouth College, and his Masters and PhD degrees in the environmental engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana. His area of expertise includes hazardous waste treatment by stabilization/ solidification and modeling of environmental systems. He teaches two courses that incorporate international perspectives on sustainability and public policy.

Dr. Al-Khafaji is the Executive Director of the Center for Emerging Technologies in Infrastructure and a Professor of Civil Engineering at Bradley University. He earned his BS in Civil Engineering and MS degree in Construction Management from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He received a second MSCE in soil dynamics and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Dr. Al-Khafaji is the co-author of 11 engineering textbooks including Numerical Methods, geotechnical, Statics and Dynamics, and software application. These books were used internationally by major institutions. He is also the author of many significant publications in internationally renowned journals. He is responsible for the Innovations Conference in Asphalt and Transportation and the International Construction Innovations Conference. He is the recipient of numerous leadership awards including the 2006 "Man of the Year" Award from the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association. He is also the only recipient in Bradley’s history of all three University excellence awards in Teaching, Scholarship and Public Service. He serves the Easter Seals, W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, A Safe Haven Foundation, and the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce.

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Amir W Al-Khafaji Bradley University

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Internationalization and Civil Engineering Program InnovationIn the early 1990’s, the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction (CEC) at BradleyUniversity developed strategic objectives to introduce internationalization to our students andcurriculum. Initially, four objectives for the CEC Global Explorer Program were outlined: 1) tosend students abroad for study either for a short mini-semester or full semester; 2) persuadeinternational students to come to Bradley; 3) embark on a faculty exchange; and 4) to fosterinternational research exchange between the CEC department and institutions abroad. In 1996,the Bradley University’s International Program was limited to the summer months. Theinvolvement of engineering students and faculty was extremely limited for at least two reasons.First, many course offerings were for language studies or general education. A more importantreason was that most engineering students preferred or were obligated to work during thesummer months. Summer employment was important to gain experience and for financialreasons as Bradley is a private institution. Yet faculty and students could benefit greatly frominternational exposure. More importantly, the internationalization program inspired the facultyto modify the curriculum to better reflect the changing realities of our engineering profession.The new CEC curriculum permits students to seek emphasis in international program,sustainability, or infrastructure.The CEC had the vision and foresight to realize as industrial firms and consulting firms whobelieved that international education is of paramount importance to the future of the civilengineering and construction professions. The mindset was that future employers would beseeking engineers with some international experience and exposure to the various cultures.Furthermore, ABET promoted internalization by one of its outcomes: “broad educationnecessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic,environmental, and societal context.” Therefore, the Department of Civil Engineering andConstruction conceived of an idea to hold an international study abroad during its Januaryinterim, a mini-semester of 2-3 weeks long (depending on destination) during which students andfaculty pursue one course full time. The study abroad program is one of the most successful inthe country as described by one recent accrediting team visiting team.Despite some detractors who thought engineering courses could not be taught abroad because ofthe brevity of the January interim and the complexity of the program, the department perseveredby launching the first January Interim program at Bradley University by sending faculty abroadto England and Denmark to explore its options. Since its inception in 1996, the CEC GlobalExplorer Program has expanded to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, France, Jordan, Egypt,and Malta. Consequently, the CEC department continues to lead the University in the number ofstudents and faculty participating the study abroad program. In fact, the Bradley Summerprogram has shifted to a more robust January Interim program. After describing the earlydevelopments of the CEC Global Explorer Program, this paper will also explore how theemphases on internationalization and sustainable development were integrated into the CECcurriculum.

Fuessle, R. W., & Al-Khafaji, A. W. (2014, June), Internationalization and Civil Engineering Program Innovation Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17189

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