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Invited Paper - Does the International Engineering Program Produce Graduates for the Rhode Island Workforce? Assessing Skill Sets and Company Needs

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2013 ASEE International Forum


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Track 1 - Session I - Student Development

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Invited - Student Development

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21.38.1 - 21.38.10



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Paper Authors


Sigrid Berka University of Rhode Island

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Sigrid Berka is the Executive Director of the International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island, and also the Director of the German and the Chinese IEP, responsible for building academic programs with exchange partners abroad, internship placements for IEP’s dual degree students, corporate relations and fundraising for the IEP. Bi-annually, the IEP organizes the Colloquium on International Engineering Education. Under Sigrid’s leadership, the IEP received NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Spotlight award for innovative campus internationalization (2011), and the Andrew Heiskell Award for study abroad (2012) by the Institute for International Education. Sigrid serves on the Provost’s Global Education Steering Committee. As Managing Director of the MIT-Germany program, she previously developed experiential learning opportunities such as internships and workshops for MIT students in German companies and research institutes for the MIT International Science & Technology Initiatives (MISTI). From 2007-2009, Sigrid served as MIT Delegate for the Global Excellence Initiative (GEI-GEIP), a consortium of the best engineering schools world-wide with the mission to educate the global engineer. Sigrid is a native of Germany and has a Staatsexamen in German Literature, Philosophy, and Education from RWTH Aachen (1986), and a PhD in German Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1990). As Assistant Professor of German Studies at Barnard College and Columbia University (1990-1996), she published a book and numerous articles on German and Austrian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, and co-authored an intermediate German textbook. As Director of the IEP, her publication topics shifted to the field of international engineering education.

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Walter von Reinhart University of Rhode Island

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Walter von Reinhart is an Associate Professor of German at the University of Rhode Island where he is also a Language and Honors advisor in University College; in addition, he has served as the Associate Director of the URI Honors Program from 2006 to 2012. He has developed several interdisciplinary humanities courses for the Honors Program and specialized German language courses with technical content for engineering students. His research interests in applied language pedagogy focus on German for science and technology and business German. His literary research concentrates on utopian and apocalyptic texts and on Exilliteratur. Walter von Reinhart teaches specialized language courses for engineering students and general language courses at all levels. He also teaches German literature and culture courses on topics like Growing up German or German Songwriters from the 60's to the 90's. At the Deutsche Sommerschule am Atlantik, Dr. von Reinhart has taught second-year language courses and business German. He also directs the Deutschband, a German-language rockband that has performed annually at the closing night of the Sommerschule.

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Erin Papa University of Rhode Island

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Erin Papa is Coordinator of the University of Rhode Island Chinese Language Flagship Program, having previously held the position of Program Coordinator for the International Engineering Program (IEP). Erin is a graduate of the IEP, having earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and a B.A. in German in 2001. She earned her Master of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Rhode Island College in 2005 and has taught English as a Second Language in the U.S., China, and Australia. She was the Principal Investigator of the Rhode Island Roadmap to Language Excellence grant and continues to lead that effort while also pursuing her Ph.D. in Education with a focus on bilingual education at URI and Rhode Island College.

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Does the International Engineering Program Produce Graduates for the Rhode Island Workforce? Assessing Skill Sets and Company Needs Abstract and Methodology:Does the value graduates of the International Engineering Program attribute to the impact of theirfive-year dual degrees from the University of Rhode Island on the development of theirlinguistic, cross-cultural and technical skills match the demand Rhode Island businesses have fora trained workforce? The following article presents and evaluates data collected from 114students who completed the International Engineering Program, which comes with a year-longstay abroad studying and interning in Germany, between 1991 and 2011. The outcome of thisanalysis is cross-referenced against data collected from a focus group of corporations in the Stateof Rhode Island who received these graduates,. In order to better understand the overall nature ofbusiness needs, especially multilingual demands, a variety of representatives from businesseswere interviewed. Interviewees were selected based upon the fiscal impact of their companies onthe Rhode Island economy and upon the importance and utility of services provided to thepublic. All interviewees were emailed the interview questions in advance. The assessment didnot attempt to analyze every business entity, and in this sense, should not be consideredcomprehensive. The 25-year old International Engineering Program at the University of Rhode Island wasoriginally designed as a dual-degree program for German and Engineering majors; studentsreceived bachelor‘s degrees in the language, as well as in their engineering discipline. Keycomponents of the program from the beginning were specialized language courses that includeinstruction in technical German and a six-month professional internship with an engineeringcompany in one of the German-speaking countries.i In 1995 an optional semester of study at theTechnische Universität Braunschweig was added.ii The German undergraduate exchange waseventually expanded to include graduate programs in which students simultaneously earnadvanced degrees in engineering from the TU Braunschweig and the University of Rhode Islandat either the master‘s or the doctoral level.iii Inspired by the immediate success of the Germanprogram, the University added similar dual degree programs in Engineering with Spanish,French, and most recently Chinese,iv which also proved successful. The German program,however, remains the main stay of the IEP programs; it boosts the highest numbers of enrolledstudents (Table 1). Because the German program also offers the largest homogeneous group ofgraduates, this article is based on data collected from graduates from the German program. 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10German 102 113 118 121 122 128 133 126Spanish 37 42 45 42 52 51 63 69French 27 27 27 33 28 27 28 29Chinese 14 20 29 30IEP overall 166 182 190 196 216 226 253 254Table 1: IEP undergraduate enrollments 2002-2010, compiled from Facts and FiguresThe survey and methodThe information presented here was gathered in two iterations of the IEP alumni survey. The firstsurvey was emailed in 2007 to 163 students who had graduated from the program between 1991and 2006; 68 graduates responded and completed the survey. An identical survey was sentelectronically in 2011 to 63 students who had graduated between 2007 and 2010. These 226requests for participation yielded 111 completed surveysv and a surprisingly high response rateof 49.1%. Compared to the overall number of 291 German IEP graduates between 1990 and2010, the data still represent the experience of a significant portion (38.1%) of all participants inthe program. We are focusing here on findings from the first part of the alumni survey whichgathered general population data, such as graduation year, engineering discipline, type ofinternational experience (internship or study-abroad, or both). Participants were then asked togive their personal assessment of the program, specifying the value they attributed to theindividual components as opportunities for professional preparation, personal growth, languagelearning and increasing cross-cultural awareness and skills. International components and their overall assessmentThe IEP requires a significant international experience of all graduates. Students are required tocomplete a six-month professional internship abroad; if no appropriate placement can be found,students may replace their internship with a semester of study at one of the program‘s partneruniversities—albeit with the stipulation that they complete and pass an engineering course taughtin the foreign language. This exception, however, is only rarely and reluctantly granted. Of the111 participants in the survey, only seven (6.3%) did not complete an internship, but insteadworked as research assistants at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. The overwhelmingmajority of respondents (93.7%) completed a six-month professional internship abroad; morethan four fifths (82.9%) spent a semester studying at the TU Braunschweig, and more than threequarters (76.6%) completed both a semester abroad and a professional internship.The overall satisfaction of IEP graduates with their international experiences was very high, yetIEP graduates seemed to value their internship slightly more than their study-abroad experience:Only one participant indicated that he would probably not want to repeat his internshipexperience; two participants stated that they would probably not want to repeat their studyabroad, and two participants declared that they would definitely not repeat their study abroadexperience (Table 2). If you could, would you repeat … the IEP program the internship the study abroad overall experience experience definitely 80.9% 82% 71% probably 14.9% 7% 15% maybe 4.3% 10% 10% probably not 0% 1% 2% definitely not 0% 0% 2%Table 2: Overall satisfaction with the IEP program and its international componentsIn general, participants saw the value of their semester abroad predominantly in the opportunityto improve their language skills and as an enriching cultural and personal experience, and less asa preparation for their professional career.The study-abroad experienceAlmost all participants (97%) valued their semester abroad as a personal growth experience;95% as an opportunity to improve their language skills and to experience a foreign culture; and88% appreciated the opportunity to make new friends. Participants attributed less value to thestudy-abroad experience as a preparation for their professional career. Only 65% of participantswere absolutely or very satisfied with their semester abroad as preparation for a professionalcareer, and only 51% reported high satisfaction with their experience as an opportunity to learnnew engineering skills or to make professional contacts (see Table 3).viSatisfaction with ……. experience as study abroad internship(rated 4 or 5 on a scale from 1 to 5)Professional experiencePreparation for a professional career 64.8 75.7Opportunity to learn new technical skills 51.2 61.3Opportunity to apply your engineering skills n/a 67.1Opportunity to make professional contacts 50.6 75.5Additional qualification on résumé 90.9 93.9Cultural experienceLanguage-learning experience 95.5 93.9Opportunity to experience a foreign culture 95.5 93.2Opportunity to reflect on U.S. culture 93.1 90.5Personal experiencePersonal growth experience 96.6 89.2Opportunity to reflect on career choices 68.2 89.2Opportunity to make new friends 87.5 88.0Table 3: Satisfaction with study-abroad and internship experiencesThese assessments were also supported when graduates had the opportunity to comment on theirstudy-abroad experience. Increased understanding of German culture, building personalfriendships, experiencing personal growth, and improving language skills are most frequentlymentioned as the most positive aspects of the participants‘ study-abroad experience. Of 67written comments, nine emphasize significant gains in language skills; 11 participants focus ontheir personal growth, couched in terms like ―the maturing portion,‖ ―the ability to functionindependently,‖ or ―to live as an adult.‖ 19 participants list their experience and improvedunderstanding of German culture as the most valuable aspect, and another 17 emphasize theopportunity to travel within Europe.By the end of their study-abroad experience, 56% of participants reported few or no problemshandling city, state, or federal bureaucracies; 17% reported significant problems, and only 2%found doing so still too difficult. Despite some academic problems they disclosed in science andengineering courses, students also reported disproportionate gains in certain skill areas. Whileonly 51.2% of participants were satisfied with their professional preparation while studyingabroad, 60.2% nevertheless reported significant gains in their ability to solve complex technicalproblems. Even more astounding are the 71.5% who gained a significantly better understandingof engineering processes and the 84.1% of participants who acquired a considerably betterunderstanding of professional expectations and conduct.Compared to their study abroad experience, participants rated their internships higher as apreparation for a professional career, but slightly lower as cultural and personal growthexperience (see Table 3). Participants valued their internships less as an opportunity to gaintechnical hard skills (61.3%), but more as an opportunity to apply their technical skills (67.1%)and to make professional contacts (75.5%). This is also reflected in their written comments. Ofthe 73 responses describing the most positive aspect of their internship experiences, 30 focus onthe ability to experience engineering as it is practiced in a different culture, 14 emphasize thathaving had the internship experience has helped the participants‘ job search, and another 13comments stress the gains in confidence and self-reliance made during the internship. Of course,there are also problems associated with the internships. Of 71 comments discussing the worstaspect of the internship, fifteen have nothing to complain; 18 comments, however, focus oninadequate internship assignments.Given that alums of the IEP report linguistic and cultural skills to be among the highestperceived gains, is there a match in the skill-set Rhode Island businesses are looking for?viiIn 2008, the International Trade Administration reported that exports and world markets sustainthousands of Rhode Island jobs and businesses. Companies who exported goods from RhodeIsland totaled 1,468, and of those 1,306 (89 percent) were small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) with fewer than 500 employees. SMEs also generated 51 percent of Rhode Island‘s totalexports of merchandise in 2008, the fifth largest share among the states, well above the nationalaverage of 31 percent. Likewise, world markets played a key role in in Rhode Island's economicoutput; export shipments of merchandise in 2010 measured a total of $1.9 billion. The state'slargest market was Canada, posting merchandise sales of $591 million in 2010, whichconstituted 30 percent of the state‘s total exports); following Canada were Mexico ($136million), Germany ($118 million), Turkey ($86 million), and China ($78 million).Because exports and world markets sustain thousands of businesses in Rhode Island, theUniversity of Rhode Island‘s research team conducted a telephone survey to assess secondlanguage needs within small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), and multibillion dollar,multinational corporations (MNCs).Languages and Proficiency: SME-specific NeedsThe majority of SME respondents think that companies who have employees with foreignlanguage abilities have a distinct advantage over those who do not. Although speaking a foreignlanguage is not a requirement for employment in most SMEs in Rhode Island, foreign languageabilities can increase efficiency, avoid extra business costs, and expand business productivity.CEO Andrew Corsini from Supfina, a North Kingstown, Rhode Island company whose exportshave grown to constitute 60% of Supfina‘s business world-wide, reports: There are extra business costs for not having linguistic and cultural skills readily available. When we are not able to ask the right questions to find out what the customer’s specific needs are, this costs us money. In addition, when the language is a barrier and our technical sales force is not able to explain a machine tool and how it works to a customer, this customer will come back to us with a broken tool, and demand to get reimbursed. This causes higher warranty costs, on the one hand, and customer dissatisfaction on the other. In contrast, if our engineers’ foreign language skills are put to use, those employees can help foster the bonding process between our parent company in Germany, and our facility in Quonset. That is why I have hired so many graduates of the German International Engineering Program; having people who speak the native language really helps improve communications and synergy between company cultures.Rhode Island second language needs are most prominent in SMEs where the companyemployees interface with foreign customers and suppliers on a regular basis. Although a numberof businesses use translation services or interpreters for these language needs, companies havealso emphasized the importance of local employees to be able to translate foreign-languagenegotiations between parties into business-specific applications. For instance, although atranslator is capable of direct translation, he or she may not ―know the language of business,‖ ormay not have enough of a vested self-interest with the company to work out language gapsand/or to specifically translate complex details or technicalities pertinent to the particularbusiness. Therefore, it is extremely important that current employees understand thecomplexities of cultural exchanges and foreign language translations.Depending on the nature of the business, Rhode Island SMEs expressed the growing need foremployees not necessarily to master a foreign language, but to be able to understand differentlanguage and cultural nuances. Matthew Zimmerman from FarSounder Inc., a Rhode Islandcompany based in Warwick that sells security navigation systems to just about any country thathas a coast, observed, ―there is always a difference between what is said, and how it is said.‖According to our findings, most SME interviewees agree that certain languages cannot always bedirectly translated, and that employees who have had language and culture training understandhow to swim with the cultural tide as opposed to struggle against it in vain.Rhode Island SME‘s language needs are highly dependent on the nature of the particularbusiness and whether or not it is operating locally or internationally. Internationally, RhodeIsland exports to over 208 different destinations worldwide. The top five international businesslanguage needs in Rhode Island are French, Chinese, German, Spanish, and Polish, with Italianand Russian following close behind. Nevertheless, almost 90% of the business respondentsstated that there were no specific hiring policies in place to increase cultural and linguisticcompetencies within the organization. This is mainly because most of the candidates theyinterview do not have the language proficiency needed to effectively handle a businesstransaction, interface with foreign governments or build new markets. Unfortunately, because ofthis lack of proficiency, the greater part of the interviewed companies outsourced languageservice needs to translation services, native and heritage speakers, and localization firms.However, the other 10% indicated a very strong demand for foreign languages and aggressivelyseek out employees with those skills.Languages and Proficiency: MNC-Specific NeedsIn Rhode Island, MNCs are spearheading their language and proficiency needs by focusing moreon multilingual capability at the upper management level in areas such as transaction processing,network integration, infrastructure development, and government contracting. A good example isGTECH, one of the world‘s largest commercial lottery operators and market leader in the Italiangaming industry with €2.3 billion in revenue and 7,700 employees in approximately 60countries. Angela Wiczek, GTECH's Director of Corporate Communicationsreports that thecompany relies heavily on upper-level managers to deliver superior multilingual performance inspoken communication, reading and writing. “Our information exchange consists of business exchange, technology, laws, policies, and regulations. We, often times, work in global teams and interface with foreign customers and/or distributors to try to build new markets in areas where we think our products will thrive. We also have people in the field monitoring the political climate in many countries in order to help with our primary goals and objectives, especially, on issues surrounding privatization. This amount of foreign exchange on a daily basis requires that all of our upper-level employees have multilingual capabilities.”All MNCs agreed that multilingual capability is required from their top management levelemployees if they are to be competitive in today‘s global economy.viii They also commented onthe fact that if an employee speaks two or three, or five different languages, it gives them moreflexibility to move employees in and out of different markets with a shorter transition period.The challenge they face, however, is finding a cadre of people that can fit this model. Manypeople are afraid of being sent abroad because they have not had the opportunity to develop theircultural and language skills; therefore they feel unprepared and do not think that they can handlea posting abroad. This forces MNCs to hire foreign nationals for their management posts abroad,thereby decreasing job opportunities for local Rhode Islanders.All MNCs see learning a foreign language and developing cross-cultural skills as a gateway tobuilding relationships and translating shared values, which can result in efficient and effectivebusiness practices. However, with respect to linguistic training and foreign language capabilitieswe found two opposing views of how to meet challenges of the global market place. The firstrelies on English being the predominant business language in the world; companies with thisview do not see the need to train employees in foreign languages or to hire multi-lingual talent.For their overseas facility‘s management they rely on hiring local managers throughout theworld. A representative of this view, Kathleen McPhee, Director, Talent Management, APCSchneider Electric of West Kingstown, a global leader in energy and data center management,explains that, “English is the most important language for international business today, that is not to say that that will not change, but as our companies expands internationally we have been much more focused on the transference of our corporate values than foreign language acquisition.”The second view recognizes that today‘s around-the-clock business transactions are increasinglyand most efficiently done with a multilingual management and work force on board. In a reportentitled, ―Educating Engineers as Global Citizens: A Call for Action,‖ from the National SummitMeeting on the Globalization of Engineering Educationix, former IEP Director John Grandinsummarized a keynote address given by Al Verrecchia, Chairman of the Board, and recentlyretired CEO of Hasbro, a multinational toy and board game company that does business in over140 countries worldwide including China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and Korea. In his speechVerrecchia explains that innovation used to be local, but has now gone global: There was a timewhen Hasbro did everything in Rhode Island and when communications could be achieved bysimply walking across the street. Today, however, Hasbro is dependent on the ability of globalteams from the U.S., Europe, and Asia to work together smoothly and efficiently in order toremain ahead of its competitors. Hasbro first went to the Far East for low labor costs and morecompetitive manufacturing, but this advantage has in the meantime become a given for allplayers in the field. Today, Hasbro must be active globally in search of the best talent and thebest ideas, meaning that much of the company‘s innovation now evolves outside of Rhode Islandand the United States, in collaboration with designers and engineers from a variety of differentnational and cultural backgrounds. Communication is thus paramount, says Verrecchia. “…we increasingly rely on collaborative development in which we partner with technology leaders and providers around the globe to take advantage of the best available expertise. Managing and leading this global tech network is no easy task and having the language skills and cultural knowledge is critical…Today a critical success factor is the ability to collaborate and communicate with a large network of technology providers, inventors, vendors, manufacturers and peers worldwide. An ability to lead multi-national teams through challenging problems and a willingness to conduct late night conference calls with partners in all parts of the globe is essential.”Verrecchia cites specific examples: “The Far East engineering team is a vital bridge between our U.S. engineering and design staffs and our vendors. They take concepts from our U.S. and European design teams as well as outside inventors and transform them into more detailed and specific products. They work with the vendor community on the detailed execution and communicate what we want to do and why. They help shape the actual features and attributes of a product and make necessary changes when manufacturing problems arise. They also help the U.S. teams understand the demands and constraints of the vendor community. Ultimately, they serve as a critical link in the process.”Although Rhode Island MNCs do not have any specific hiring strategies that directly relate torecruitment based on foreign language ability, anyone who knows a foreign language or cultureis at a definite advantage. Findings from the survey also indicate that the University of RhodeIsland‘s International Engineering Program (IEP) has been influential in the development of amore attractive workforce in Rhode Island. College graduates who combine a Bachelor ofScience degree in an engineering discipline with a Bachelor of Arts in a foreign language andhave spent a year abroad studying for a semester and interning for six months with a companyabroad are very valuable assets to any MNC, that would prefer to hire locally whenever possible.Rhode Island MNCs, such as Hasbro, or MNCs in neighboring states who draw a large portion oftheir work force from Rhode Island, such as Sensata Technologies in Massachusetts or Pratt &Whitney in Connecticut, recruit bilingual graduates from the IEP to use them as ambassadorsbetween their headquarters in the US and their subsidiaries in China and Germany. Someparents of New England-based companies are abroad, as is the case for Hexagon Metrology(Sweden), MTU (Germany), APC Schneider Electric (France), or Toray Plastics (Japan). Hiringneeds may also be determined by the headquarter‘s international subsidiaries; hence Hexagon‘sstrategy is to hire Chinese and German speaking engineering graduates to use them asintermediaries between its R&D labs in Rhode Island and Wetzlar, Germany, and itsmanufacturing site in Qingdao, China. MTU‘s strategy is to hire German speaking IEP graduatesbecause they need them to translate the demands of US companies, such as Pratt & Whitney, forwhom they serve as supplier, and watch over exact specifications, translating back and forthfrom the metric system to the Anglo-American system of inches and yards.Cultural CompetencyCultural Competency is the ability of individuals and organizations to communicate effectivelyin cross-cultural situations and environments where different cultural beliefs and behaviors canbe substantial. Kathleen McPhee from Schneider Electric, a Rhode Island company that buildsproducts for service and support for ways to monitor security with140,000 employees globallyand 1500 employees in the U.S., explains that, “People who are able to understand what works and what does not work in different cultural settings and people who have cross-cultural sensitivity, who have the crucial flexibility and can do things in different ways will be the people that are the most valuable to our company.”Moreover, President and CEO Angus Taylor from Hexagon Metrology, a company that exportsand imports coordinated precision measurement machines world-wide states that, ―Some of mybest employees are engineers who are ‗emotionally intelligent.‘ They have teaching experience,have traveled abroad, and are able to speak a foreign language.‖ The greater part of the MNCsinterviewed agrees that cultural competency is taught through foreign language learning and thatit cultivates a set of competencies in people which enables them to not only identify thedifferences in cultural patterns, but "to socialize with your counterpart. Employees who are ableto intersperse cultural knowledge (i.e. books, music, family, and events) into the conversation arehighly effective and they gain a lot of credibility, trust, and respect..‖ That, at least, is one of theadvantages of cross-cultural competency according to Tom Dougherty from Nortek Inc., a 2.1billion dollar company with 35/40 employees in Rhode Island and 10,000 employees world-wide.The comparative data analysis presented above shows a strong correlation between the perceivedhigh value graduates of the International Engineering Program attribute to the linguistic andcultural skills they developed during their year-long study and work stay abroad, and the skill-setin demand by small, medium and large businesses in Rhode Island. Although we exclusivelysurveyed alums of the German IEP, the results can be viewed as representative of the other IEPprograms as well. Hence it can be concluded that IEP graduates who command a second or thirdlanguage in addition to English, who are cross-culturally aware and competent, and have had achance to apply their technical skills in a real-world international scenario come with optimalpreparation for the Rhode Island work force.i For information about the special language courses developed for engineering students, seeVon Reinhart, Walter, ―German for Science and Technology: Teaching Strategies for Beginning Students,‖ DieUnterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 34.2 (2001) pp. 119-32; and Rarick, Damon O., ―The Student CenteredClassroom Made Real: Transforming Student Presentations in an Advanced Course on Technical German,‖ DieUnterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 43.1 (2010), pp. 61-69.ii For a more detailed description of the International Engineering Program, its components and its history, seeGrandin, John, Merging Languages and Engineering: Partnering Across the Disciplines: Morgan Claypool. Serieson Global Engineering (2013); and also Berka, Sigridand Groll, Eckhard (guest editors), ―Bridging the Languages with Engineering (2011-2013): In Honor of John M.Grandin,‖ Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, Volume 6, Issue 1 (2011)iii For more information about the IEP dual degree graduate programs, see Berka, Sigrid (2011) "The University ofRhode Island Graduate Dual Degree Program with the Technical University of Braunschweig – Its Added Value,Synergies, and Gains for Engineering Students," Online Journal for Global Engineering Education: Vol. 6: Iss. 1,Article 5. Available at: Initially the Chinese program offered a bachelor‘s degree in Engineering with a minor in Asian Studies. A B.A. inChinese was approved in 2011, and the first dual degree recipients in Chinese and Engineering graduated in May2012.v Electronic contact information was available only for 226 out of a total of 291 graduates between 1990 and There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon. It is quite likely that the 76% or participants whocompleted both a semester abroad and an internship attributed relatively more value to their internship aspreparation for their professional career. Another reason may lie in the linguistic capabilities of the students. 51% ofall respondents felt that they were either totally or very unprepared to discuss academic or technical topics withprofessors, and only 11% considered themselves adequately prepared. Consequently not all students completed orpassed their engineering courses.vii For a full report about our assessment of the demand for multilingual and multicultural skills in the Rhode Islandworkforce, see Papa, Erin; Berka, Sigrid; Brownell, Winifred; Butler, Robyn, Crocker, Colin, 2011 U.S. LanguageSummit: Rhode Island Roadmap to Language Excellence: University of Rhode Island Preliminary Report(December 2011)viii This finding matches a 2011 Forbes Insights report on Reducing the Impact of Language Barriers. CopyrightForbes 2011. Accessed 11/15/2011 at John M. Grandin and E. Daniel Hirleman, Educating Engineers as Global Citizens: A Call for Action. A Report ofthe National Summit Meeting on the Globalization of Engineering Education. Newport, Rhode Island November 5-6, 2008. This NSF summit report can be downloaded at:

Berka, S., & von Reinhart, W., & Papa, E. (2013, June), Invited Paper - Does the International Engineering Program Produce Graduates for the Rhode Island Workforce? Assessing Skill Sets and Company Needs Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--17243

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