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Reaching Beyond Engineering to Achieve Best Practice in Global Learning

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2014 ASEE International Forum


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 14, 2014

Start Date

June 14, 2014

End Date

June 14, 2014

Conference Session

Track 3 - Session 1

Tagged Topic

Student Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

20.34.1 - 20.34.11



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Paper Authors


David DiBiasio Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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David DiBiasio is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Department Head of ChE at WPI. He received his ChE degrees from Purdue University, worked for the DuPont Co, and has been at WPI since 1980. His current interests are in educational research: the process of student learning, international engineering education, and educational assessment. Collaboration with two colleagues resulted in being awarded the 2001 William Corcoran Award from Chemical Engineering Education. He served as 2004 chair of the ASEE ChE Division, has served as an ABET program evaluator and on the AIChE/ABET Education & Accreditation Committee. He has also served as Assessment Coordinator in WPI’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and as Director of WPI’s Washington DC Project Center. He was secretary/treasurer of the new Education Division of AIChE. In 2009 he was awarded the rank of Fellow in the ASEE, and in 2013 was awarded the rank of Fellow in AIChE.

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Terri A. Camesano Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Professor Camesano is Assistant Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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Natalie A Mello The Forum on Education Abroad

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Natalie A. Mello is Vice President for Member Services and Training at The Forum on Education Abroad. She oversees a range of initiatives that include programs to train members in the Standards of Good Practice though the expansion of workshops, Standards Institutes, Fireside Dialogues, and other programs. Natalie joined the Forum in 2011 after serving as Director of Global Operations in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). She also served as an onsite advisor for WPI students as they completed degree-required projects in Venice, Italy; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Washington, DC. She has been involved with national education abroad organizations for many years, particularly in the area of risk management, and is a recognized expert in responsible risk management for off-campus experiences. Natalie previously served as the Chair of the Advisory Council for The Forum on Education Abroad, and chaired the Forum’s 2008 Annual Conference as well as co-chaired its first stand-alone Standards of Good Practice Institute in 2011. She has published and presented in the areas of engineering education, education abroad and educational outcomes assessment.

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Reaching Beyond Engineering to Achieve Best Practice in Global Learning Since 2004, undergraduate chemical engineering students from WorcesterPolytechnic Institute (WPI) have conducted research in the labs at l’Ecole NationaleSupérieure des Industries Chimiques in Nancy, France. Projects include biomedical researchand local environmental problems. Students returning from this program frequently win localacademic competitions and become co-authors on papers published in research journals. In 2008 ChE students began conducting research at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.They helped contribute to SJTU’s long standing commitment to solving complexenvironmental issues in China’s most prosperous and eclectic city. While working fulltimewith SJTU faculty these students gained the well-known benefits of undergraduate researchwhile at the same time learning about Chinese culture, struggling with the language, andnegotiating life in suburban Shanghai. These two global opportunities represent a variety of experiences, contexts, andoutcomes for our students. They are not isolated anecdotes from a select few chemicalengineers, fortunate enough to travel abroad; rather they are the norm for several hundredWPI students who participate each year in the Global Perspective Program (GPP). And,despite the diversity they have elements in common – they provide authentic learningexperiences for undergraduate students to do meaningful research. And, they provide uniqueopportunities to develop important non-technical abilities. Although the GPP has been part ofWPI’s curriculum for over 35 years, it is only in the last 12 years that the global programexpanded to become one of the largest in engineering education. In 2001, the non-profit professional association The Forum on Education Abroad wasfounded to solely address academic issues when US students study abroad. The Forum isrecognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as theStandards Development Organization for the field of education abroad. As such they havepublished Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad currently in its 4th edition. Thesestandards are endorsed by over 600 universities representing 90% of the 283,000 US studentswho studied abroad in 2011/12. There are nine Standards recognized by the field: Mission;Student Learning and Development; Academic Framework; Student Preparation for the LearningEnvironment Abroad; Student Selection and Code of Conduct; Policies and Procedures;Organizational and Program Resources; Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management; andEthics and Integrity. We will describe the WPI model in detail, including details of our collaborations at SJTUand ENSIC. We will outline assessment efforts to measure student learning outcomes, andpresent the data from those efforts. This paper will use the Standards of Good Practice with afocus on Standard 2: Student Learning and Development and WPI’s established model todemonstrate that best practice in both engineering education and education abroad can beachieved while providing students with meaningful learning experiences around the globe. Ourextensive assessment data demonstrates how properly designed authentic internationaleducational structures can achieve technical, social, and cross-cultural learning outcomes that aresuperior to similar domestic learning experiences.

DiBiasio, D., & Camesano, T. A., & Mello, N. A. (2014, June), Reaching Beyond Engineering to Achieve Best Practice in Global Learning Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17197

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