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Strategies for Increasing Student Participation in International Programs

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2016 ASEE International Forum


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 25, 2016

Start Date

June 25, 2016

End Date

June 25, 2016

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks Session I Study Abroad Programs

Tagged Topic

International Forum

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James N Warnock Mississippi State University

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James Warnock is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. His background is in biomedical engineering and he has been a big proponent of self-directed learning and active learning in his classes and was the first person to introduce problem-based learning in the department of agricultural and biological engineering at MSU. James is also the Adjunct Director for training and instruction in the professional services department at ABET. In this role, Warnock oversees the development, planning, production and implementation of the ABET Program Assessment Workshops, IDEAL and the assessment webinar series. He also directs activities related to the workshop facilitator training and professional development.

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Galyna Melnychuk Mississippi State University

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This paper describes the strategies utilized by a college of engineering at a public, tier one research university located in the southeastern US. As stated in the institutional strategic plan, the university recognizes the need to apply their academic, scientific, and extension capabilities to global challenges while providing students with an international perspective that expands their future opportunities. To increase international opportunities for students, the College of Engineering has focused on opportunity, benefit and affordability.

To increase opportunity, courses offered as faculty-led study abroad programs have been selected from those that can be applied to the most number of engineering programs. Starting summer 2015, Technical Writing was offered in Munich in collaboration with Munich University for Applied Sscience. This course is required for all engineering students. Students also have the option to take Engineering Economy in France. This course counts as an elective in all engineering programs. Starting summer 2016, we will offer Engineering Mechanics I in Cardiff, UK. This class is required for 8 of the 11 engineering programs. These courses are offered at international universities where we currently have established activities, either through bilateral exchange agreements and/or active research collaborations.

The greatest challenge to increasing participation in international activities is communicating to students the benefits of a global experience, especially in a state that has one of the lowest percentages of passport holders in the country. To increase awareness, the college of engineering has initiated a student ambassador program. Ambassadors meet with classes to talk about opportunities, share their personal experiences and testify how the experience has been of benefit, both professionally and personally. The college has also introduced a minor in Global Engineering Leadership as an academic incentive to students.

Finally, to make international opportunities affordable, the university has introduced study abroad scholarships for incoming freshman students meeting certain criteria (in-state residency and minimum ACT scores). In fall 2015, ~240 study abroad scholarships were awarded, 164 of which were offered to engineering students. Additionally, the college has been able to offer substantial scholarships from gifts received from engineering alumni and industry sponsors.

The strategy to increase opportunities for students, communicate benefits of study abroad, and enhance affordability has been effective since first implemented. The college has witnessed a 56% increase in students participating in international programs since 2014. Although this is a modest increase in terms of absolute numbers, the college is on a trajectory to meet its goal of having >200 students per year participate in study abroad by 2020.

Warnock, J. N., & Melnychuk, G. (2016, June), Strategies for Increasing Student Participation in International Programs Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/1-2--27257

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