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The Case of an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in the Internationalization Process of a Research I Public Institution

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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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Paper Authors


Fabiola P Ehlers-Zavala Colorado State University

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Fabiola P. Ehlers-Zavala was named INTO Colorado State University (CSU)’s Center Director in November 2014, having previously fulfilled the role of INTO CSU Academic Director (March 2013-November 2014). In her CD capacity, she works with Colleges across campus, and has a particular interest in the preparation of international students pursuing engineering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature together with her teaching certificate from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in 1992. She then pursued graduate education in the U.S., and she earned both her M.A. (1994) in English and Ph.D. in English Studies (1999) from Illinois State University. Upon her graduation, she worked for Illinois State University (ISU) as Assistant Professor in Bilingual/Bicultural Education until she received her tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. While at ISU, in her last year, she directed the Bilingual/Bicultural Education Program in the College of Education. In 2006, she moved to Colorado to teach in the M.A. in English at Colorado State University where she received her second tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2009. Between 2009 and 2013, she directed the M.A. in English (TESL/TEFL). Her areas of expertise include: second language/bilingual reading, second language assessment, and ESL/bilingual teacher preparation. She is the coauthor of Reading Strategies for Spanish Speakers. Her publications in books and journals include “Meeting the reading comprehension challenges of diverse English language learners in K-12: Key contributions from reading research” (2016), “Advocacy in Language Teaching” (2013), “History of Bilingual Special Education” (2011), “Bilingualism and Education: Educating At-Risk Learners” (2010), “How Can Teachers Help Adolescent English Language Learners Attain Academic Literacy?” (2009), “Teaching Adolescent English Language Learners” (2008), “Assessing English Language Learners (ELLs) in Mainstream Classrooms” in The Reading Teacher (2006 & reprinted in 2010); “Bilingual Reading from a Dual Coding Perspective” (2005) in Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism; “Preparing Quality Bilingual/Bicultural Teachers in the 21st Century: A PDS Model for Educational Change and Success” (2004), “Use of Lexical Borrowings in Sonoran Border Spanish” (2003). She serves on the editorial board of The International Multilingual Research Journal (IMRJ) and TESOL Journal. She is Past President of Illinois TESOL/Bilingual Education, Past Chair TESOL International Bilingual Education Interest Section and Past Chair of TESOL International’s Nominating Committee. Most recently, Dr. Ehlers-Zavala served as a member of the International TESOL Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2014-2015), and has been invited to serve in the Editorial Review Board for The Reading Teacher (RT) Volume 70 review year (2015-2016).

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Anthony A. Maciejewski Colorado State University

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Anthony A. Maciejewski received the BSEE, MS, and PhD degrees from the Ohio State University
in 1982, 1984, and 1987, respectively.From 1988 to 2001, he was a professor of electrical
and computer engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette. He is currently a professor
and the department head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University.
He is a fellow of the IEEE. A complete vita is available at: ~aam.

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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.

Ehlers-Zavala, F. P., & Maciejewski, A. A. (2016, June), The Case of an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in the Internationalization Process of a Research I Public Institution Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/1-2--27225

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