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2015 ASEE International Forum


Seattle, Washington

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June 14, 2015

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June 14, 2015

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June 14, 2015

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19.27.1 - 19.27.5



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Julia Ziyatdinova

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PROFESSIONAL GROWTH OF ENGINEERS IN GLOBAL MULTICULTURAL ENVIRONMENT Julia Ziyatdinova, Artem Bezrukov, Vasily IvanovThe modern world is rapidly becoming globalized. The world’s top engineering companiesemploy best specialists from all over the world. The “binding force” for such specialists is theirengineering education background: they form so-called “engineering elite” without boundariesand cross-country barriers. Different cultural background of engineers in a global world may,however, form unpredictable barriers to their cooperation within a transnational company or auniversity. On the other hand, cultural differences as a set of various “points of view” andapproaches can make a fruitful contribution to the development of engineering community [1].Professional growth of engineers is closely linked to the global challenges mankind faces today.In the XXI century, the mankind is facing a number of new challenges; their solution willdetermine the future progress and even survival. The “global agenda" today includes thefollowing issues: corruption, poverty, environmental pollution, human rights, terrorism, armedconflicts, climate change, epidemics, unemployment, world economy globalization, religion-based conflicts, human migration. Scientists, politicians and social activists are activelydiscussing the so called “global challenges” on the daily agenda of the United Nations, the clubs.All the road mapping documents of G20 member states design the future projects with a strongemphasis on the global risks and instabilities. The world scale problems are also reflected at theregional scale. Almost all the major challenges can be grouped into the following categories:• Healthcare and quality of life – human lifespan, environment deterioration, especially in thecities, early mortality, poverty and corruption;• Safety – a threat of war, ecological disasters and climate change, religious and ethnic conflicts,terrorism, economic safety related to modernization of the Russian resource based economy,corruption, globalization of the world economy, migration of population;• Resources and their scarcity – demand for new types of energy and energy efficient materials,pure drinking water, food problems, intensification of the housing and road construction.The world leading engineering universities aim at solving the most urgent global challengesthrough R&D projects and education declared in their missions [2].Within the research, education and project activities of the universities, engineering is oftenconsidered as a decisive factor in the roadmap of the XXI century. For example, the annualreport of the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) places an emphasis on engineering asone of the most effective instruments for solving global problems through providing high-techsolutions for healthcare, development of new materials, safety and the problems of energy andresource scarcity. Engineering in the constantly renovating appearance will always be ofparticular importance for the modern civilization.The “Building Blocks” of the modern civilization based on Engineering are:• Process safety. Modern engineering processes are based on operational and industrial safety.• Education, knowledge and professional skills.• Research and development. Engineering faces the complex challenges of the modern science.• Energy. Engineering develops key energy solutions for the forthcoming decades.• Water. Engineering provides renewable water resources;• Food. Engineering can find solutions for sustainable food generation and distribution.• Health and welfare. Engineering has been the basic instrument for producing commoditiessince the early XX century.• Economic impact. Engineering contributes over USD 3,000 bln to the global economy, thusserving as the major economic leverage.• Social impact. Engineering improves the quality of life all over the world.The major contribution to the high level of new universities is made by the engineering activities,which fill the commercialization “gap” resulting in the lack of large national companies able tocarry out modernization projects and design innovative production lines.Graduates of top engineering universities often seek employment by international corporationsand if employed can be sent to Europe, Asia or Africa. Their further professional growth andpromotions are often related to changing regions and even countries within their employingcompany [3].There is a number of gaps for engineers to be bridged to ensure their sustainable professionaldevelopment:- the gap between the social demand of the global world for internationally competitive engineerscapable of international scale professional activities and the engineering university graduates andfaculty who are not ready for intercultural communication;- the gap between the demand for international recognition of activities done at nationaluniversities and the low presence of regional engineers in the international databases of grants,publications and conferences;- the gap between the demand for development and implementation of international programs inengineering education to enhance the competitiveness of the engineering universities and anumber of barriers faced by the faculty (insufficient interdisciplinary links, little experience ofwork in professional multilingual environment, low efficiency of personal international contacts,psychological problems in intercultural communication);- the gap between the demand for expanding the international presence of an engineeringuniversity, social order to the universities to get into the top positions in the internationaluniversity rankings and the real positions of engineering universities in the global educationmarket;- the gap between the demand for international integration of engineering education, research andindustry, the existing successful international experience of engineering entrepreneurshipdevelopment and commercialization of research results and the absence of efficient mechanismsfor adapting and implementing this experience;- the gap between the demand for studying and adapting the international rules and regulationsfor engineering education internationalization and the absence of mechanisms for efficientimplementation of this experience in engineering universities;- the gap between the demand for analyzing the historical background of engineering educationinternationalization and the need for comprehensive analysis of this problem;- the gap between the existing conceptual approaches to engineering educationinternationalization in the developed countries, empirical experience of internationalization inengineering universities, and the absence of critical description, explanation and analysis of theseapproaches with a further developed engineering education model.These gaps formulate the problem at the heart of the presented project: what is the structuralfunctional model for the professional growth of engineers in global multicultural environment?The problem discussed in this study is that lifelong learning process, accompanying professionalgrowth of a modern engineer, can often be a continuous impact of different cultures.An important aspect of analysis if that the contribution of a multicultural environment to thedevelopment of engineers can appear at any stage of their lifelong education pathway:Bachelors’, Master’s or PhD studies, as well as professional training courses offered by anemploying company. Linguistic, cultural and religious differences exert certain influence on thelearning process, an ability to sustain working and learning stresses, and the process of decisionmaking. It is important to consider, however, that engineers get multicultural experience today atearlier stages of their lifelong learning process due to globalization: students can change severaluniversities located in different parts of the world to get advanced engineering education degrees.Another key point for discussion is that on the other hand, many engineers gain all their degreesin home countries. In this case, multicultural component becomes predominant in their continuedprofessional growth when they first face multicultural environment as a part of their career in atransnational company.A promising approach offered to reveal the influence of multicultural environment on continuedprofessional growth of engineers is to select regions with strong multiculturalism and intensiveengineering infrastructure as the points for analysis. One of such regions in Russia is theRepublic of Tatarstan, incorporating two major nations of Russia – Russians and Tatars. Theyhave different historical, cultural and religious background. At the same time, this part of Russiais strongly industrialized by many national and global companies and has a cluster of engineeringuniversities. Thus, it is perfect place to reveal best practices in professional growth of engineersin a multicultural environment.Kazan National Research Technological University is the only Russian National ResearchUniversity which focuses on research and academic programs in Chemical Engineering andtrains skilled professionals demanded in both the Russian and global markets. KNRTUimplemented a whole set of degree programs: “Chemical Engineering of Polymer and CompositeMaterials”, “Chemical Engineering of Energy Intensive Materials”, “Chemical Engineering ofIntegrated Processing of Hydrocarbon Resources”, “Chemical Engineering of Nanotechnologiesand Nanomaterials” and “Chemical Engineering of Energy and Resource Efficiency in theProduction of Advanced Materials”.KNRTU is a part of the innovative infrastructure of the Republic of Tatarstan that is a uniqueRussian region for innovations. KNRTU can be a gateway for its global partners in reaching suchlarge complexes as Special Economic Zone “Alabuga” (a special place for foreign residents withzero or reduced taxes), “Innopolis” Innovative City (a new-town-from-scratch project, supportedby Carnegie-Mellon University, USA, to integrate the best IT-specialists in Russia in one place),and the “SMART City” Kazan (the new investment ground for business, education andinnovations).The mission of KNRTU aimed at becoming an internationally competitive institution is to solvethe global challenges of the mankind in the 21st century through research, education andengineering activities based on the significant role of chemical engineering for contemporarystage of human civilization, because chemical engineering will be at the forefront of tacklingmany of the world’s tough challenges in coming decades.AcknowledgementThe research was funded by Russian Foundation for Humanities grant, project #15-26-09001Bibliography[1] Dyakonov, G.S. (2013) [Global Tasks of Engineering Education and Training Engineers in National ResearchUniversity].Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher education in Russia]. No.12, pp.35-40. (in Russ., abstract in Eng.)[2] Riha, A., Apple-Smith, J., Rover, D., and Melsa, J., 2007, “Growing globalization of engineering practice:raising national awareness,” Proceedings of ASEE 2007 Annual Conference and Exposition.[3] J. M. Grandin and D.E. Hirleman, “Educating engineers as global citizens; a call for action / A report of thenational summit meeting on the globalization of engineering education,” Online Journal for Global EngineeringEducation: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 1, 2009.

Ziyatdinova, J. (2015, June), PROFESSIONAL GROWTH OF ENGINEERS IN GLOBAL MULTICULTURAL ENVIRONMENT Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--17150

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