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Internationalization Of Engineering Education

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Educating Graduates in Engineering for a Flat World

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Page Count


Page Numbers

13.794.1 - 13.794.17



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Paper Authors

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Michael Mariasingam University of Wisconsin - Madison


Thomas Smith University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Thomas W. Smith, MS, is director of telecommunications programming in the Department of Engineering Professional Development. He currently directs a series of short courses in telecommunications technology. He has been instrumental in the development of the University's online instruction, audiographic and Web-based conferencing, document management systems to support teaching and learning, and in satellite communications capabilities. For this work he received the UW-Extension Award for Excellence and national awards from Telecom and ASEE. He has written more than 40 papers and articles on telecommunications and distance education and is a frequent speaker on this topic in the United States and Europe. He received his BS degree from Dartmouth College and MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Sandra Courter University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Sandra Shaw Courter is Director of the Engineering Learning Center and a member of the Department of Engineering Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin† Madison. She teaches technical communication courses to undergraduate engineering students. As a member of the management team for the NSF Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), Courter is responsible with a multi-disciplinary team for developing and teaching a graduate course about teaching and learning; she piloted the course as an online web-conference during fall 2006. Courter is currently involved with an NSF grant (No. 0648267) related to "How People Learn Engineering."

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


Internationalization of Engineering Education


Providing global skills to engineering graduates is an urgent need. This paper points out that efforts to internationalize engineering curriculum through add-on courses like study abroad programs are not enough because, even if they are effective, they still serve fewer than 20 percent of the graduates. The paper proposes a way to provide global competencies to all engineering graduates by partially reforming the engineering curriculum. The need for global competencies in engineering graduates and the reasons for the need are discussed first. Some components of an enlarged set of knowledge and skills that graduates must have to be globally competent engineers are then presented. Strategies for teaching the global skills and strategies for assessment of the graduate global skills are also discussed.


The National Academy of Engineering 1 in its editorial “Globalization and Engineering” says:

Globalization is not a new phenomenon. Carthage, Rome, the Ottomans, several European powers, and mercantile city-states had multicontinental trading networks made possible by a combination of economic power, military power, and the latest technology.

But, it also says,

The globalization we are experiencing today is unprecedented in its magnitude and reach. The whole world has become a market for the economies of many countries, and globalization is transforming not only the location and organization of production and services, but also social and economic patterns

This unprecedented globalization has transformed the nature of the engineering enterprise, the character of engineering profession and the profile of the engineer of the future. Engineers are expected to function effectively as they face new, ever-changing work environments that include globalization, outsourcing and emerging technologies. In the current global environment engineers are required to work with engineers from different nations in the transformed multilingual, multicultural, and multicontextual business environment, their traditional skills need to have a global dimension and additional skills – skills that will give engineers a global mindset are required. Most engineering schools are offering a number of programs such as study abroad or work abroad, but these add-on programs have limitations and constraints. In fact, over 80% of engineering students do not participate in add-on international engineering programs.

Industry has begun to respond to the transformation by developing business strategies, which include global teams, offshoring and outsourcing. But the educational establishment has not caught up to suit the transformed nature of the engineering enterprise in the globalized economy. Engineering education has not changed yet. In a previous paper2 presented at the ASEE 2007 annual conference, entitled Globalization and Engineering Education for 2020 the authors have discussed these issues and the need for reforming engineering education to make it globalized

Mariasingam, M., & Smith, T., & Courter, S. (2008, June), Internationalization Of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3700

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