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Professeurs Sans Frontieres: Spreading Faculty Knowledge and Experience Around the World

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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

Capstone and International Experiences

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1073.1 - 25.1073.17



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Paper Authors


Bobby G. Crawford U.S. Military Academy

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Grant Crawford is currently the Director of the Mechanical Engineering Program at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. He graduated from West Point in 1985 with a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering. He earned a master's of science in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas in 2004. He has taught courses in aeronautics, thermal-fluid systems, heat transfer, computer-aided design, and aerospace and mechanical engineering design. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is a rated pilot in both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

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Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Stephanie Farrell is an Associate Professor in chemical engineering at Rowan University. Prior to joining Rowan in 1998, she was an Assistant Professor in chemical engineering and Adjunct professor in biomedical engineering at Louisiana Tech University. She received her bachelor’s, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Stevens Institute of Technology, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. Farrell’s educational interests are in laboratory development and experiential learning, particularly in the areas of biomedical and sustainable engineering.

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Elizabeth Bristow P.E. U.S. Military Academy

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Elizabeth Bristow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. She has taught civil engineering at the academy since 2007. During her time at West Point, she has helped develop opportunities for cadet summer development experiences in engineering at locations across the U.S. and internationally, and she is a Faculty Advisor for the West Point student chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Bristow earned a bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, in 2002. She completed a master's of engineering in civil engineering in 2004 and her doctorate of philosophy in civil engineering in 2006. Both graduate degrees were earned at Texas A&M University.

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Professeurs Sans Fronteiers: Spreading Faculty Knowledge and Experience Around the WorldAbstractEngineering education is a global enterprise. Nowhere is that more evident than in countries wherethere is a severe shortage of this invaluable commodity. A study of the war in Afghanistan in an attemptto isolate the root causes of this conflict invariably points to the lack of education among the populacewhich serves as a breeding ground for extremists and insurgent indoctrination. In his book, Three Cupsof Tea, Greg Mortenson describes the motivation for his campaign of promoting peace througheducation as follows: “If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will beno safer than we were before 911. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need tounderstand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.”A by-product of the poor educational system is a shortage of engineers and the accompanying poorstate of civil infrastructure that permeates the country. In addressing this problem, the nationalleadership of Afghanistan is working to reinvigorate the country’s university system. Part of that efforthas been the establishment of the National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA); a four-year,bachelor degree granting institution modeled after the military academies of the United States. Two ofthe primary degrees offered by NMAA are in Civil and General Engineering. In the summer of 2009,faculty members from XXXXXXXXX traveled to NMAA to serve as mentors for the budding Academy.This same principle applies beyond Afghanistan. There is a continuing need for engineering expertiseand education in Nicaragua. Engineering students in college today can expect to work on projects farbeyond the borders of their home countries, in settings ranging from villages in the developing world tothe most modern of cities. The mental and cultural dexterity required to work in widely diverseenvironments is seldom explicitly taught, but nevertheless it must be learned. Students may gaininternational experience through study-abroad programs or service-learning programs in developingcommunities, and professors may help student development by including their own international workexperiences in classroom lectures and discussions.This paper gives a brief overview of outreach activities to Afghanistan and Nicaragua and outlines plansfor a January 2012 trip to India. It discusses what the authors did while there, what is still needed, andwhat issues must be considered when conducting this type of global outreach. It describes a practicalapplication of learning theory as well as the teaching and reinforcement of that theory as part ofcontinuing faculty development in an emerging educational system. It also discusses best practices foraugmenting students’ international education through formal study abroad programs, service learningprograms centered on Engineers Without Borders or other international development organizations,and through indirect student exposure to faculty activities abroad. Benefits and costs associated witheach are presented.

Crawford, B. G., & Farrell, S., & Bristow, E. (2012, June), Professeurs Sans Frontieres: Spreading Faculty Knowledge and Experience Around the World Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21830

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