New Orleans, Louisiana
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
With the advent of the 21st century, the landscape of higher education continued to quickly change. For numerous and diverse reasons, a growing number of universities in the US began to embrace non-traditional models for rapidly internationalizing their university campuses. One of these expanding models has been the formation of private / public ventures intended to aggressively recruit international students. Under this approach, the recruitment of international students has targeted not only students that are highly qualified for university programs, but also those who fall short in meeting entry-requirements for direct admission. The latter would be students who show potential for academic success if provided with the appropriate language and academic support during a pathway-year experience. As anticipated, this evolution in international recruitment approaches has translated into significant change, which has met with some, if not much, resistance on the part of faculty and staff across university campuses.
Given the exponentially growing number of private / public partnerships that have emerged in the past 6 years in the US, and the associate influx of international students, engineering departments have been disproportionally impacted due to these students predominantly pursuing degrees in either engineering or business. While graduate engineering programs have long been dominated by international students, the introduction of significant numbers of such students into undergraduate engineering programs is a relatively new phenomenon, at least for most public universities. This results in both challenges and opportunities, particularly in light of nearly universal calls to internationalize undergraduate engineering education to prepare students for a global workplace.
This paper relates the transformational journey that a department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has undergone in this context. It relates both the administrative and educational challenges as well as solutions encountered in this process; and it offers a perspective worth considering by others who may find (or be about to find) themselves in similar changing contexts. Finally, it raises questions related to the impact that this type of transformation has had thus far in the preparation of future engineers for a global world, as innovative practices are being considered and put to the test.
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