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Managing Global Experiences For Engineering Students

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.698.1 - 6.698.9



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Natalie Mello

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

Session 2560 Managing Global Experiences for Engineering Students

Natalie A. Mello Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has long embraced a project-based curriculum that now extends to the four corners of the globe. With established programs in Europe, the Far East, Latin America, Australia, the US and new initiatives in Hong Kong and Taiwan, WPI provides opportunities for undergraduates to complete meaningful off-campus experiences. WPI offers students the freedom to complete degree requirements away from campus in a professional experience under the direct supervision of WPI faculty, an experience that is unrivaled by traditional international study abroad. The impact of successfully completing professional-level projects at remote locations is that students solve real-world problems while immersed in a different culture. In 1999-2000, more than 400 of WPI’s typical graduating class of 650 students completed one or both qualifying projects in teams off campus on externally sponsored topics. In the 2000-01 academic year, WPI is sending over 450 students to one of WPI’s off-campus residential Project Centers. WPI’s program is not a traditional study-abroad program. This paper will provide an understanding of the management and logistical structure of Global Perspective Program at WPI, with special attention paid to risk management issues, student and faculty recruiting and preparation, and re-entry for returning students.

I. Introduction

There has been an increase in the call for internationalizing higher education by representatives of government, academia and industry. President Clinton’s recent memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies regarding the International Education Policy states:

To continue to compete successfully in the global economy and to maintain our role as world leader, the United States needs to ensure that its citizens develop a broad understanding of the world, proficiency in other languages, and knowledge of other cultures… It is the policy of the Federal Government to support international education. We are committed to: • Promoting study abroad by U.S. students… • Expanding high-quality foreign language learning and in-depth knowledge of other cultures by Americans…1

Engineering education has long been faced with the challenge of providing a global perspective for its undergraduates. The ASEE's report, Engineering Education for a Changing World,

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ž 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Mello, N. (2001, June), Managing Global Experiences For Engineering Students Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9529

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