June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering
23.890.1 - 23.890.18
Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: A Case Study of the Industrial Engineering REU Program at UPRMThe National Academy of Engineering’s call to educate global engineers has sparked a numberof globalizing programs and coursework at different institutions. Nevertheless, there is a need toquantify the extent to which the ability of recent graduates to understand, appreciate, and acceptdifferences among cultures is being influenced by globalizing programs and coursework. Inother words, how do these emerging programs improve the intercultural sensitivity scale ofengineering graduates? In 2009, NSF funded a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)site at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) named Educating a culturally-sensitive Industrial Engineer: A complex interdisciplinary systems perspective to global IEissues. The summer component of this REU site takes advantage of the unique location of PuertoRico, with a distinct Hispanic-Caribbean culture and a highly industrialized manufacturingenvironment, to expose intercultural teams of participants to some of the challenges associatedwith working in a global economy. In addition to research activities, this REU includes culturaland professional activities aimed at providing students with an opportunity to foster theirculturally-sensitive management skills. By the end of the summer internship, students gained notonly critical scientific knowledge and expertise in different research areas, but also theexperience of working in intercultural teams.Nevertheless, did this exhaustive intercultural program have an effect in the students’intercultural skills? Are there any differences in the way it impacted students coming from US-based institution versus the way it impacted UPRM students? To answer all these questions, weused the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ICSS) by Chen and Starosta (2000) on a cohort of 43students from the 2010-2012 UPRM-REU summer programs. Feature selection, using analysisof variance, indicates that the factors that contribute more heavily toward changes in thestudents’ intercultural sensitivity are (1) the experience of going through the REU summerprogram and (2) whether the student went to school at UPRM or not. Both of these factors alsohave a statistically significant two-way interaction with the different ICSS constructs. Non-parametric paired analyses were used to test whether the experience had a positive effect in theparticipant’s intercultural scale. At a 0.05 significant level, every REU summer program wasable to trigger a statistically significant improvement in the interaction confidence andinteraction enjoyment constructs of the ICSS. Overall, the REU program also had a statisticallysignificant ( ) effect in the interaction engagement and respect for cultural differencesconstructs of the ICSS. Lastly, results indicate that the UPRM program has been responsible forthe overall improvement in the intercultural sensitivity scale of 21 participants of the REUsummer program.
Davila, S., & Cesani, V. I., & Medina-Borja, A. (2013, June), Measuring intercultural sensitivity: A case study of the REU program at UPRM Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22275
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