June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This research explored if and how global interests and experiences relate to engineering students’ ideas of professional social responsibility. The mixed-methods study included quantitative information from about 3300 students who completed online surveys and qualitative information from both open-ended questions on the surveys and longitudinal interviews with a small group of engineering students and alumni. The interviews and surveys revealed that different types of global issues were impactful in developing social responsibility ideas before college for some students, including service projects in global settings, international travel more generally, and awareness of global poverty and development issues from the news and media. During college, social responsibility ideas were shaped by courses with international content (inside and outside of engineering), international service-related groups (e.g. Engineers Without Borders), study abroad, and work experiences. There was a weak negative correlation between students’ average social responsibility attitude overall and their level of interest in living domestically; and a weak positive correlation between their professional connectedness and interest in living internationally in a developing country. The strength of these correlations varied by student gender, rank, and major. The results suggest that these correlations might result from causation in either direction: individuals may develop stronger attitudes toward socially responsible engineering as a result of global experiences before and during college, and/or those with a stronger sense of social responsibility may seek out international experiences during or after college. However, the quality of the experiences can be variable and may impact students in different ways. As a result of these experiences, interest in working abroad changed during their undergraduate engineering education for some students. The results suggest that initiatives to globalize or internationalize college experiences may help to combat the “culture of disengagement” in relation to engineering students’ commitment to socially responsible engineering.
Bielefeldt, A. R., & Rulifson, G., & Canney, N. E. (2019, June), Social Responsibility Related to Global Experiences and Interests of U.S. Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33274
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