Asee peer logo

Learning from Senior-Level Engineering and Business Development Professionals to Create Globally Competent Engineers via On- and Off-Campus Activities

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1068.1 - 26.1068.25



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jane L. Lehr California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

visit author page

Jane Lehr is Chair of the Women's & Gender Studies Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is also an Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies, Director of the Science, Technology & Society Minor Programs, and Faculty Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority and Underrepresented Student Participation in STEM Program at Cal Poly. She previously served as elected co-chair of the Science & Technology Taskforce of the National Women's Studies Association, and as a Postdoctoral Research Officer at the Centre for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS) at King's College, University of London. Her graduate training is in Science & Technology Studies and Women's Studies at Virginia Tech.

visit author page

author page

Dianne J DeTurris California Polytechnic State University

author page

Alana Christine Snelling

author page

Nhu Y Tran

author page

Lia Marie Applegarth

Download Paper |


Learning from Senior-Level Engineering & Business Development Professionals to Create Globally Competent Engineers via On- and Off-Campus ActivitiesPotential Session Topics 1. Domestic Internationalization: Developing Global Competence through On-Campus Activities 2. Needs, Opportunities, and Challenges for Global Engineering Education 3. Needs of multinational companies 4. Foreign Language and Cultural Understanding in Engineering CurriculaEfforts to scale curricular and co-curricular experiences designed to foster globally competentengineers sit at an important crossroads. Education for global competency, along with thedevelopment of other “professional” or “soft” skills, is an important part of the formation of 21stcentury engineers. There is broad agreement that, “U.S. engineers [of 2020] will face totallydifferent problems from the ones we face today” and “will have to be open to different religions,different ways of thinking, and different social values.”1 However, consensus does not existregarding how to cultivate globally competent engineers in a cost- and time-effective manner,nor the minimum level of global competence necessary prior to graduation.Universities have the opportunity to make curricular and co-curricular decisions guided by theknowledge and experiences of current global professionals. This paper identifies lessons learnedfrom 16 hour-long interviews of senior-level engineering and business developmentprofessionals at a large, multinational defense company who were currently working in or hadpreviously completed assignments that included extensive international components. Interviewtranscripts were analyzed via a modified grounded theory approach.2, 3 Interviewees were asked(1) to describe their experiences, including how they prepared, their motivations forparticipating, and what challenges they faced before, during, and afterward; (2) to identify anycultural differences they observed or experienced, including those related to communication,decision-making, project management, problem solving, and style of engineering; and (3) tomake recommendations for individuals beginning international assignments and for educationaland corporate institutions. Lessons identified include: 1. Try Not to Behave like an ‘Ugly American’ 2. Understand the Differences Between the U.S. and the Other Country 3. Focus on Communication 4. Build Relationships, Build Trust 5. Implement A Learn-By-Doing Model of Education for International Work 6. Commit to Ongoing Cycles of Continuing Education and ReflectionThe paper concludes with identification of curricular and co-curricular pathways for respondingto these lessons at individual and institutional levels via on- and off-campus activities, as well asexploration of how challenges to implementation may be overcome.1. Katehi, L. (2004). The Global Engineer. In Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century (pp. 151-155). National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies: Washington, D.C.2. Yancey Martin, P. & Turner, B. (1986). Grounded Theory and Organizational Research. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 22(2): 141-157.3. Bazeley, P. (2009). Analysing Qualitative Data: More Than ‘Identifying Themes’. Malaysian Journal of Qualitative Research. 2: 6-22.  

Lehr, J. L., & DeTurris, D. J., & Snelling, A. C., & Tran, N. Y., & Applegarth, L. M. (2015, June), Learning from Senior-Level Engineering and Business Development Professionals to Create Globally Competent Engineers via On- and Off-Campus Activities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24405

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: © 2015 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