June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1139.1 - 15.1139.10
Study Abroad to See the World and Become a Better Engineer
Abstract Good engineers are more than just talented at math and science; they can creatively solve problems. This creativity is often assisted by being sensitive to project needs, whether those needs relate to a blind pedestrian or designing a Hindu Temple in Texas. This sort of sensitivity can be purely learned from years of engineering work experience, but the newly graduated engineer would be well served to have a wide range of experiences while at university. Study abroad allows students to learn about other cultures and increase their global awareness by living and studying outside of the US. As a result of these experiences, students have an opportunity to gain an appreciation for the culture they recently experienced and then translate that world awareness to other environments. By broadening their experiences, the engineering student is better prepared to tackle challenges of a diverse workplace. Quality graduates also play a part in the ranking of engineering programs. It is the hypothesis of this study that universities with more engineering students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities have engineering programs that enjoy higher rankings. Surveying the study abroad programs at universities with top ranked engineering programs provided the data to test this hypothesis.
Introduction Study abroad experiences are generally regarded as valuable learning opportunities. In 2005, the US Senate even passed a declaration to make 2006 the year of study abroad while lauding the many benefits of such programs1. Engineering students with study abroad experience have a unique position of joining their technical abilities with increased sensitivity to global issues. The authors' belief is that engineering students who study abroad tend to make better engineers from their increased awareness and sensitivity. Further, that such a relationship could be seen by comparing study abroad rates of engineering students to the perceived quality of program, which results in college rankings. Therefore, the following hypothesis was proposed.
Hypothesis Universities with more engineering students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities have engineering programs that enjoy higher rankings.
Procedure To test the hypothesis, the authors drafted a brief survey and sent it to the study abroad programs with top ranking in US News & World Report2. This survey was approved for use by the internal review process at Datum Engineers, Inc. The survey was sent out first on December 10, 2009 and again on February 17, 2010 to non-responders. All responses received before March 15, 2010 were included in the study. The ranking used for this study was for undergraduate
Talley, K., & Hovell, C., & Stith, J. (2010, June), Study Abroad To See The World And Become A Better Engineer Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15888
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