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Linking International Competition, Innovation, Cultural Understanding And Global Thinking: Motivating Technology Students To Be Attentive To Cultural Issues

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Preparing Engineering Students for International Practice

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1021.1 - 12.1021.10



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Paper Authors


Saeed Khan Kansas State University-Salina

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SAEED KHAN is an Associate Professor with the Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology program at Kansas State University at Salina. Dr. Khan received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut, in 1989 and 1994 respectively. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1984. Khan, who joined KSU in 1998, teaches courses in telecommunications and digital systems. His research interests and areas of expertise include antennas and propagation, novel materials for microwave application, and electromagnetic scattering. Dr. Khan is a member diversity committee at the College of Technology and Aviation, and also serves as a member of Tilford Group, a research and development group charged with creating a multicultural curriculum model.

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Beverlee Kissick Kansas State University-Salina

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BEVERLEE KISSICK earned three degrees from Kansas State University at Manhattan, Kansas: a B.S. in Sociology, MS in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology Library/Media. Beverlee is a Professor and Director of Libraries at Kansas State University at Salina where she has taught sociology. Beverlee taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, and in Kansas public schools. Kissick chaired the diversity committee at KSU at Salina for three years and has served on the Presiden⁴s Council on Multicultural Affairs and the Tilford Group at Kansas State University at Manhattan. Beverlee is known for her presentations on Practical Humanities and information literacy.

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

Linking International Competition, Innovation, Cultural Understanding and Global Thinking: Motivating Technology Students to be Attentive to Cultural Issues


The former Federal Reserve Chairman, Allen Greenspan, in his address to the 2004 Boston College Finance Conference argued that the key to preserving US jobs was not protectionism, but education and training to ensure that Americans are able to thrive in a global economy: "As history clearly shows, our economy is best served by full and vigorous engagement in the global economy… Consequently, we need to increase our efforts to ensure that as many of our citizens as possible have the opportunity to capture the benefits that flow from that engagement1." The urgency with which this “vigorous engagement” has to be pursued in the area of technical education is apparent from remarks made by William Wulf, in his Presidents Speech to the National Academy of Engineering in 2003, in which he concludes with this advice: “Our society is dependent upon technology created by engineers. Engineering is changing rapidly, and I believe engineering education has to change even faster for us to maintain our quality of life. We’ve studied it to death. We know what to do. So let’s get on with it!2”

Rapidly changing technological ecosystems demand that students in science and technology prepare for the growing impact of globalization. Teaching issues like cultural diversity to technical students can be a hard sell; it is not enough to say that ABET requires it, or that “Engineer 2020” desires it. We can provide lists of reasons why certain organizations and task forces have come to see cultural understanding as an essential part of technical education. Still many technical students remain skeptical about the need to study topics not directly related to their specializations in technology. This kind of skepticism can be allayed in a classroom situation if students can be guided, through case studies, to comprehend the connection between innovation and cultural understanding in a global economy. There are two case studies, of dissimilar products, that are particularly effective for illustrating the importance of cultural diversity: an Intel proposal for “community PC” in rural India; and Apple’s continued development of the iPod series. Apple’s iPod, designed by an American company for an American consumer, was chosen because of its immense popularity among students; it forms a case study of a familiar product in a familiar place. For the unfamiliar, we chose Intel’s “community PC.” This global venture has prospects that are not immediately apparent without taking into consideration the economic potential of India. It would be possible to choose any number of other products or markets, the main consideration being that something outside the students’ own area of familiarity be bought to the table. In this case, the product to be studied is appropriate to the expertise of students in the target class, and the authors have knowledge of the Indian market conditions so as to best help students understand the complexities of selling technology there.

This paper will begin by discussing both the case studies briefly in the context of the “6 P’s” model of innovation3 (people, product, price, place, promotion and process; © Copyright 2005,

Khan, S., & Kissick, B. (2007, June), Linking International Competition, Innovation, Cultural Understanding And Global Thinking: Motivating Technology Students To Be Attentive To Cultural Issues Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2289

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: © 2007 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