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Preparing Students To Compete In The Global Marketplace

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Preparing Engr Students for International Practice

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1019.1 - 11.1019.11



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Paper Authors


Natalia Kapli Pennsylvania State University

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Natalia V. Kapli is a doctoral candidate in Instructional Systems at Penn State. She received her B.A. in Modern Languages and Education from Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Russia and her M.S. in Adult Learning, Performance & Development from Drake University. Before starting graduate school she worked in both academic and corporate settings for four years.
Address: 315 Keller Building, University Park, PA 16802.
Telephone: 814-769-9014, email:

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John Wise Pennsylvania State University

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John C. Wise is Director of Engineering Instructional Services at Penn State. In this capacity, he provides assistance to faculty members and teaching assistants in the areas of teaching, learning, instructional technology, and assessment. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from The University of the State of New York and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Instructional Systems at Penn State.
Address: 201 Hammond Building, University Park, PA 16802. Telephone: 814-865-4016, FAX: 814-865-4021, email:

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Thomas Litzinger Pennsylvania State University

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Wesley Donahue Pennsylvania State University

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

Preparing Students to Compete in the Global Marketplace Abstract

As globalization continues to relocate technical engineering jobs from the United States to overseas locations, it is critical that engineering programs in the U.S. consider the development of skills and abilities that will set their graduates apart and allow them to compete with their overseas counterparts. This paper describes a new course that is intended to provide this type of experience for undergraduates. The course makes use of e-learning technology and active learning techniques to develop graduates who will be comfortable communicating across cultures using technology to manage projects, team relationships, and collaborative design projects. The course was pilot-tested in the ‘04/’05 academic year, with results from the formative assessment incorporated as appropriate.


The increasing migration of technical engineering functions from firms located in the continental United States to overseas competitors has created an environment that calls into question how engineering undergraduates should be trained and educated. While some companies are battered and turn to overseas labor for relief 1, engineering educators look to foster creativity and innovation to enhance the engineering student’s ability to compete 2. The Advisory Board for the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State recognizes this global challenge and advocates that engineers truly become “world class” 3. The Board has made recommendations to the College of Engineering regarding specific enhancements that are necessary for our graduates to compete globally. As a result of those recommendations, Penn State is offering a new course – Professional Skills and Core Leadership Competencies in the Global Environment – that is specifically designed to respond to the aforementioned global engineering challenges. This paper will describe the design and execution of the class and the results of the course assessment to date.

Description of the Course

The course is problem-based and technology supported, and seeks to create a learning environment that replicates the geographically dispersed, team-oriented practices of engineers in the field. Among the tasks that the students must complete are on-line training modules with associated assessment, role playing exercises, and preparation of an individual portfolio that includes a short video clip in which students “sell” themselves to a prospective employer. The first iteration of the course was implemented and evaluated as an Engineering Leadership elective, and is a foundational course for students preparing for leadership positions. Its purpose is to ensure that all students develop an adequate understanding of contemporary professional skills and core leadership competencies that are needed to function effectively in today’s global business environment. These skills include:

Kapli, N., & Wise, J., & Litzinger, T., & Donahue, W. (2006, June), Preparing Students To Compete In The Global Marketplace Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--859

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: © 2006 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