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Preparing University Students For Global Workforces: Comparisons Between Engineering And Business School Students

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Modeling Student Data

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.977.1 - 15.977.8



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Paper Authors

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Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Preparing University Students for Global Workforces: Comparisons Between Engineering and Business School Students Gisele Ragusa, Ph.D. University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering Rossier School of Education Abstract

There is a growing concern among universities that students in undergraduate and graduate engineering and business programs will be unprepared or underprepared to work in global workforces. In their 2005 publication, Engineers for 2020, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) urged university engineering schools nationwide to embed curriculum and assessment measures into academic programs that provide opportunities and associated assessment metrics to meet this international challenge. Specifically, the NAE charges universities and colleges to prepare engineers that are leaders in global engineering fields with strong communication, leadership and interdisciplinary research, and professional skills in diverse in engineering environments. Businesses, and business school have similar globally focused charges. This paper describes a university’s response to an important challenge of preparing students for global workforces. This paper describes assessment metrics related to preparedness for working in diverse globally focused engineering and business contexts. In this study, engineering and business school students received interdisciplinary globally focused training via their coursework, research and international field experiences and were assessed as to their preparedness to work in global workforces, research, and diverse environments. Accordingly, global preparedness index was developed and administered to assess the impact of diverse educational and research experiences summatively. Results of this important assessment metric were compared across programs and to students’ course grades, work related efficacy, international field experiences and outcomes-based academic program success. Results of this research indicate that engineering and business students who were most globally prepared were also most efficacious, had international experiences, and received higher grades in courses. Additionally, diversity in preparedness among the subscales of the index was noted, suggesting that students with diverse socio-demographic profiles had diverse preparedness indices.

Keywords: Global, global preparedness, engineering education, business comparisons, preparation for global workforces

Introduction We live in an era with unprecedented changes due to dramatic advances in technology on many fronts. The explosive growth in computing and communication has revolutionized the way we work and live. Increasingly, both engineering and business work forces are becoming more diverse with teams working with global foci. The forces of globalization, demographics, and technological advances are changing the role of both the engineering and the business communities in society,1 identifying a significant challenge in the way universities address the diverse professions, university education, and associated university student assessment processes.

Ragusa, G. (2010, June), Preparing University Students For Global Workforces: Comparisons Between Engineering And Business School Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16913

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