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Pilot Collaboration And Program Development: Engineering Senior Design And Spanish For Cross Disciplinary Literacy

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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

International Distance & Service Learning for Engineers- Discussion on Best Practices

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1155.1 - 12.1155.20



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Paper Authors


Sandra Boschetto-Sandoval Michigan Technological University

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Sandra Boschetto-Sandoval is Associate Professor of Spanish Language and Latin American Studies at Michigan Tech. Her teaching and research interests include language pedagogy, linguistic and cultural translation, and intercultural communication. She is currently working with Ciro A. Sandoval on an Intercultural Communication Reader for students of advanced Spanish language and culture and "Special Purpose" courses.

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Ciro Sandoval Michigan Technological University

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Ciro A. Sandoval is Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Studies at Michigan Technological University. His primary research interests are in Latin American Cultural Studies and the relations between science, technology, and literature. His teaching and research interests also include intercultural communication, linguistics, critical theory, and social philosophy.

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Linda Phillips Michigan Technological University

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Linda Phillips, P.E. is Lecturer of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University and Director of the International Senior Design program that allows undergraduates to combine the engineering capstone design course with field construction in a developing country. Ms. Phillips brings over 20 years of project and company management experience to her professional practice-type classes.

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

Pilot Collaboration and Program Development: Engineering Senior Design and Spanish for Cross- Disciplinary Literacy


Modern language scholars have begun in recent years to challenge educators to develop a framework for language that, as noted by Heidi Byrnes in the Association of Departments of Foreign Language Bulletin, “intimately relates knowing [the language] to diverse ways of knowing” (Byrnes, 11). [1] In proposing literacy as a framework for advanced second language acquisition, Byrnes also challenges language educators to link educational decisions to societal demands and to educate young people for the “undisputed complexity of human meaning making in and through language.” (14). As Byrnes makes clear, moving toward a socio-culturally grounded, genre-based literacy “locates language use in the context of social practice and meaning-making across disciplinary boundaries” (13). Language proficiency efforts, intercultural communication competencies, and service learning initiatives have all combined to foster a new praxis of language use that allows for a more critical rethinking of disciplinary boundaries, beyond the purely verbal or grammatical, and toward more transformational cultural and intercultural literacies. Within this theoretical framework, the pedagogical experiment we describe here is an example of an educational praxis that may point beyond language learning per se, toward the acquisition of other ways of knowing and learning. The purpose of this study is a) to present a workable example of cross-disciplinary literacy-based language acquisition pedagogy for intermediate to advanced students of language within the context of a technological university, and b) to describe a unique pilot collaboration undertaken at Michigan Technological University in spring 2006 between students enrolled in Civil and Environmental Engineering International Senior Design and Humanities’ Spanish for Special Literacies. Through the framework of technical and cultural translation, students engaged in the practice of professional communication and heightened their awareness of the socio-cultural context in which all communication, including engineering communication, is embedded.


When we first described our modern language efforts at curriculum design within the specific context of Michigan Technological University (The Canadian Modern Language Review) [2], the position of the Modern Language Program within our Department of Humanities was viewed as ambivalent or marginal because the science

Boschetto-Sandoval, S., & Sandoval, C., & Phillips, L. (2007, June), Pilot Collaboration And Program Development: Engineering Senior Design And Spanish For Cross Disciplinary Literacy Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2383

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