June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.308.1 - 2.308.10
North American Engineering Education & Academic Exchange: -- Canada, Mexico, the United States --
Thomas R Phillips, ABET/FlPSE Project Consultant Managing Director, Collegeways Associates (USA) From 1993 to 1996 the author served as ‘External Evaluator’ for the Regional Academic Mobility Program (RAMP), a multilateral exchange program run by the Institute of International Education (IIE). RAMP has brought together 26 institutions in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, moving over 200 students in its first three years. However, only about 12% of the exchanges have involved U.S. students. One of the impediments to recruitment has been a lack of timely, consistent, and useful information on programs. The author obtained a FIPSE/USDE grant to develop a guide, consisting of institutional and program profiles, curriculum tables, and selected course descriptions. French and Spanish materials were translated and converted to a standard format. The resulting Guide contains examples of over 100 Canadian and Mexican engineering programs across seven disciplines. The observations in this paper are based primarily upon information from the RAMP institutions.
Engineering Education in North America I wanted to determine how a U.S. engineering student could benefit from studies in Canada or Mexico. Was there a professional rationale to support a marketing concept and strategy for the RAMP program? I soon found similarities among the course descriptions and curriculum charts. The topics listed in the standard engineering courses were much like ours - not surprising with the use of standard textbooks and software. Not so apparent is an emphasis on applied engineering skills that increases as you go from Canada to Mexico. In fact, Mexican universities feel that one of their strengths is a comparatively high percentage of faculty members who teach and work in industry. This is viewed as a positive feature in the preparation of graduates for jobs in Mexico’s “productive sector.” While this approach favors industry, it slows faculty development in Mexican universities. Even some of the larger engineering schools have a comparatively small core of full-time faculty with advanced degrees, and relatively small graduate engineering programs.
Mexican mechanical and electrical engineering courses often include topics on design for manufacturing, manufacturing process design and control, fabrication, and applications of computers and electronics to manufacturing. Mexican civil engineering programs emphasize competency in construction, while chemical engineering programs serve the processing industries in chemicals, food, and materials. Mexican programs usually have an “industrial engineering” component, focusing more on the practical problems of industrial plants, facilities, and production management, and less on quantitative methods. Courses in labor law and personnel management are standard requirements. Mexican engineering students are taught design, but- also learn to “install, operate, and maintain” electronic, mechanical, and industrial equipment. Given Mexico’s growing manufacturing base, emphasis on infrastructure development, and the number of U.S. employers with operations in Mexico, a U.S. exchange student could create a valuable, marketable learning experience. In both Canada and Mexico, I saw opportunities for student projects and practical experience that would enhance a resume.
Phillips, T. R. (1997, June), North American Engineering Education & Academic Exchange: Canada, Mexico, The United States Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://peer.asee.org/6713
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