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Preparing Engineering College Students for a Culturally Diverse Global Job Market

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Global and Intercultural Competency

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Maria Claudia Alves Texas A&M University

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Maria Claudia Alves
Director for the Halliburton Engineering Global Programs at Texas A&M University

Dr. Maria Claudia Alves is the Director for the Halliburton Engineering Global Programs at Texas A&M University . She has been in this position since July 2012. In this position she is responsible for internationalizing the research and education activities of the Dwight Look College of Engineering. Under her leadership the college has significantly increased the number of students studying abroad, established new models of study abroad including co-op and research abroad and established meaningful connection for research and attraction of funded international graduate students. Maria started working at Texas A&M in 2005 as Assistant Director for Latin American Programs and in 2009 she was promoted to Program Manager for South America in the same office. During her time at the Office for Latin America Programs she created, managed and developed projects to enhance the presence of Texas A&M University in Latin American and to support in the internationalization of the education, research, and outreach projects of the university. She was charged with the development and implementation of a strategic plan for Texas A&M in South America. While at the Office for Latin America Programs, Maria was also responsible for the opening of the Soltis Center in Costa Rica. Maria speaks three languages fluently (Spanish, Portuguese and English) as well as intermediate French. Maria is originally from Brazil and completed her undergraduate studies at Lynn University in Florida, where she graduated with honors in Business Administration in 2002. She was part of the tennis team and was the team captain for two years, including the year the team was NCAA National Champion in 2001. She is a December 2003 graduate of the MS-Marketing program at Texas A&M University. And in the Fall of 2009, Maria started the PhD program in Higher Education Administration and graduated in August 2017

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According to the National Academy of Engineering, a core need for engineers today is to be able to work with a diverse, multinational, multidisciplinary workforce. Accordingly, colleges of engineering must develop strategies to graduate engineers ready for this global and diverse job market and society. The literature shows a broad agreement in the sense that global competency is needed for the engineers entering today’s job market and society. However, less agreement exists as to what this skill is about, what to call it, and how to prepare our students. By identifying the intercultural maturity level of students in the College of Engineering enrolled in the ENGR 410 Global Engineering Design course during Fall 2014, this study contributes to the body of knowledge of how students come to appreciate cultural differences to interact effectively with different others is important.

This qualitative study used the Intercultural Maturity Framework developed by King & Baxter Magolda (2005) and followed the Naturalist inquiry paradigm using the interpretive method relying on information from interviews, documents and reports. The results of this study showed that this global course had a positive impact on students’ intercultural maturity development. The course had three key components (engineering project; global competency concepts and the virtual participation of Brazilian students) that together, seemed to positively affect the intercultural maturity of the students. The engineering project the company provided linked their cultural learning to the engineering workplace reality. The cultural assignments and the work with the Brazilian students awakened the global interest of the students who had not traveled abroad, and it deepened the cultural understanding of the students who had traveled abroad. Overall, after the Global Engineering Design class, students were able to articulate, when describing the experience, their learning and what they will bring to the work environment and lives from this experience.

Alves , M. C. (2018, June), Preparing Engineering College Students for a Culturally Diverse Global Job Market Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30885

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