New Orleans, Louisiana
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
Diversity and International Forum
The Global Student Forum: A model for developing student leaders in engineering education The Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED) works towards providing students a voice in the engineering education (EE) movement. Our annual event, the Global Student Forum (GSF), brings together engineering students from different continents to engage in discussions about improving engineering education in their local communities. The inaugural GSF was held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in the year 2006 and the GSF has since been hosted in a variety of cities, including Istanbul, Turkey and Cape Town, South Africa. The 11th—and most recent—GSF was held from September 17th-20th of 2015 in Florence, Italy. Overall, about 80 students attended the event from 12 different countries. The theme for the 2015 forum was “Engineering Education for Multi-Faceted Engineers.” Under this overarching theme students were further divided into one of three subtopics, including: “Entrepreneurship in Engineering Education” (Track 1), “STE’A’M – Arts in Engineering Education” (Track 2), and “Resilience in Engineering Education” (Track 3), which aligned with the theme of the 2015 World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF).
The GSF is a completely student- and volunteer-led operation, through all stages of development. Students from a diverse set of countries come together to form an international planning committee. The typical organizational structure includes a local team based out of the present GSF’s host city as well as a broader international team. In addition to the executive committee, students can participate in one of the many sub-planning groups, including Educational Content, Relations, and Graphic Design. Different groups are tasked with recruiting mentors to enrich the educational experience, advertising the event on a global scale, as well as budgeting for the forum’s expenses, for instance.
Outside research describes the necessity of the GSF and like-minded initiatives. In their 2000 publication, Rugarcia et al. reveal 21st century challenges for engineers. This group projected that today’s engineers will have to interact with globalized markets, multiple disciplines, as well as social responsibility. The GSF responds to these calls for action by bringing together a diverse group of students in terms of nationality, gender, and discipline, and by also encouraging students to plan projects with impact on their local communities.
To better understand the need for the GSF and to capture its value we conducted pre- and post-GSF surveys with 19 and 48 participants, respectively. Results from the pre- and post-GSF surveys demonstrate the hurdles that students face in their engineering education and the need for a robust student-centered organization to support them. Among the survey’s main highlights is the fact that 68.4% of students have experienced problems with their EE, while 100% of students said that they think about solutions for such problems. Furthermore, students named being “unsure of how to start”, “university policies,” and a “lack of support” as the main inhibitors to their proactivity in EE. And at the end of the forum, 93.8% of students said that their GSF experience caused them to see engineering education as a more relevant and pressing topic. Overall, the GSF provides a proven framework for successful student collaboration that can fill gaps in present EE and inspire students to recognize the importance of related issues.
Redda, L., & Reichl, F., & Ferrario, A., & Kandakatla, R., & Radhakrishnan, D. B. (2016, June), The Global Student Forum: A model for developing student leaders in engineering education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana. https://peer.asee.org/27265
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