Asee peer logo

Partnerships For Sustainable Development And International Education

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Sustainability and Environmental Issues

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.943.1 - 14.943.20



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Bradley Striebig James Madison University

visit author page

Dr. Bradley A. Striebig is an associate professor of Engineering at James Madison University. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University, where he was the head of the Environmental Technology Group at the Applied research Laboratory. Prior to accepting a position to develop the engineering program at James Madison University, Brad was a faculty member in the Civil Engineering department at Gonzaga University. He has worked on various water projects throughout the US and in Benin and Rwanda.

visit author page


Susan Norwood Gonzaga University

visit author page

Susan Norwood is a Professor of Nursing at Gonzaga University. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pacific Lutheran University, a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Washington, and a certificate as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Her Doctorate in Educational Leadership is from Gonzaga University. She has been a nurse educator for 23 years and has been teaching at GU since 1991. She has taught a wide variety of courses to both graduate and undergraduate nursing students and has authored several textbooks.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

WATER : A Model Partnership for Sustainable Development and International Education

Susan Norwood, EdD, RN (Department of Nursing, Gonzaga University)

Bradley Striebig, PhD (School of Engineering, James Madison University)


West African Technology, Education, and Reciprocity (WATER) is an interdisciplinary study abroad experience that focuses on the development of sustainable water and health-related resources in Benin, West Africa. The WATER program is a partnership between the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin, James Madison University, and Gonzaga University. The course has been built around a consultative model of engagement: the Songhai Centre identified their needs and the professors and universities developed course content and projects to respond to these needs. The goal – and challenge – is to meet community-identified needs while still providing a meaningful and credible educational and cultural experience for a diverse group of students.

This paper describes the design, development, and implementation of this interdisciplinary study abroad experience. The authors explain how the course is organized to capitalize on the talents of students from multiple diverse majors. Site selection considerations, evaluation procedures, and lessons learned also are described.


Study abroad opportunities have increasingly become an expectation in higher education. More than half of incoming students intend to have some type of study abroad experience during their undergraduate education – and their parents are encouraging this. Additionally, accrediting bodies and employers are recognizing the value of such an experience. For example, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has stated that engineers should exhibit an awareness of global conditions and circumstances that may influence the design process. Similarly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) identifies global awareness and intercultural competency as essential outcomes for graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs.1 Professional accrediting organizations also are placing increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary education and collaboration. Study abroad experiences also take students outside of their typical comfort zones, allowing them to stretch and grow in ways that are just not possible on campus. For some students, such experiences may trigger interest in career opportunities with service or non-governmental organizations that focus on engineering, health, education, and development needs in the US or abroad. In spite of encouragement and the desire of students to participate in study abroad experiences, in fields such as engineering and nursing with very stringent accreditation requirements, prescribed courses, and heavy course loads, students have difficulty fitting a typical study aboard experience into a their schedule. WATER


Striebig, B., & Norwood, S. (2009, June), Partnerships For Sustainable Development And International Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4538

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: © 2009 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