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Preparing Engineers for Global Careers: Culturally Diverse Design Competitions and Forums for First-year Engineering Students

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Design in Freshman and Sophomore Courses

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1057.1 - 25.1057.8



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Paper Authors


Suzanne W. Scott Petroleum Institute

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Suzanne W. Scott is an Assistant Professor in the STEPS Program (Strategies for Team-based Engineering Problem Solving). She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver, an M.A from Washington University, and a B.A. from Drury University. She is a former Coordinator of the EPICS (Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence) Program at the Colorado School of Mines under the directorship of Dr. Robert Knecht, and has served as one of the Principal Investigators in the PI/CSM collaboration, “Preparing Global Engineers,” on both the CSM and PI campuses. Her research interests and publications focus on engineering design education in the Middle East and the U.S., intercultural communication, and educating engineers for global practice.

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Preparing Engineers for Global Careers: Culturally Diverse Design Competitions and Forums for First-Year Engineering StudentsAbstract An international design competition was conceived between two culturally distinctengineering institutions to study teams competing in the unique process of engineering design.These highly successful competitions have taken place since the fall semester of 2007 on thecampuses of two engineering universities (alternating as hosts): one Western (USA) and oneMiddle Eastern (UAE). The competitions were expanded in 2009 to include forums for studentsand faculty to share optimal views of engineering design methodologies. While the theory, objectives, and practices of the respective cornerstone design programsare similar, the respective cultures are vastly different. Recognizing the need for students tounderstand the global nature of modern engineering and have an awareness of customarypractices in different countries and diverse cultures, a collaborative research initiative wascreated to support these international activities titled: “Preparing Global Engineers: DevelopingEngineering Education Across Cultures.” Objectives for the competitions and forums include guiding and enabling culturallydiverse first-year engineering teams in the development and application of creativity andingenuity in formulating solutions to contemporary global open-ended problems. Data gatheredfrom the observance of culturally diverse teams is studied with the objective of betterunderstanding how these factors influence the process that is utilized in problem-solving.Another objective is to prepare our student teams for global practice by introducing them tofactors associated with engineering in international settings. Moreover it is our hope to promoteglobal altruism through the competition by promoting and fostering increased understandingbetween different cultures. Past competitions have included the design of a water desalination device, a solar furnacefor toxic waste destruction, and an environmentally sustainable village. Forum themes haveincluded “Team Building, Learning, Styles, and Communication Styles, and “Cultural Influenceson Engineering Design.” The Fourth International Design Competition and Forum will be heldat the Middle Eastern campus in December of 2011. These are exciting opportunities for all whoparticipate.

Scott, S. W. (2012, June), Preparing Engineers for Global Careers: Culturally Diverse Design Competitions and Forums for First-year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21814

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