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The Value Of Exchange: The Benefits Of Inter Cultural Engineering Study– A Design Team Perspective

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Faculty & Program Exchanges: Internationalizing, Collaborations, Interactions

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1261.1 - 15.1261.10



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Paper Authors


Saeed Foroudastan Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. Saeed D. Foroudastan is the Associate Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and Professor of Engineering Technology. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering (1980), his M.S. in Civil Engineering (1982), and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (1987) from Tennessee Technological University. Professor Foroudastan's employment vitae includes: Assistant professor of Mechanical
Engineering for Tennessee Technological University, Senior Engineer, Advanced Development Department, Textron Aerostructures, and Middle Tennessee State University. Professor Foroudastan is involved with several professional organizations and honor societies, and has many publications to his name. He has secured over one million dollars in the form of both internal and external grants and research funding. He also holds U.S. and European patents.

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Sandi Hyde Middle Tennessee State University

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Ms. Sandi Hyde received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1994. She worked at Nissan North America as Senior Chassis Engineer from 1994 to 2007. She is a Graduate Candidate / Graduate Research Assistant at Middle Tennessee State University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Value of Exchange: The Benefits of Inter-Cultural

Engineering Study- A Design Team Perspective


Children in the sixties and seventies grew up watching cartoons in which characters used futuristic items such as computers and video phones. Now, less than fifty years later, such items are commonplace for many and promote international communications and commerce. Despite the ease with which technological advances have allowed ideas to be shared, language barriers and lack of access to culturally balanced information may still be difficult to overcome. The growth of global economies facilitates a need to understand cultures for which products and services are to be designed, produced, and sold. Surmounting these, and other, challenges is achievable through the promotion of foreign-student involvement in design clubs and through promotion of student-exchange programs.

International student involvement in campus activities and student exchange programs facilitate communication, work to overcome cultural bias, and promote cultural diffusion and diversity while preparing future scientists and engineers for work in a global economy. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has effectively modeled cultural interaction through Engineering Technology Program Clubs such as SAE Formula One, SAE Baja, and Moon- buggy. Domestic students and international students improve their communication and leadership skills while simultaneously learning about varying cultures through these activities at MTSU.

Effective communication occurs in many forms. Colloquialisms and slang often complicate communication between those of differing native languages, as well as different cultures within the same language. While Britains and Americans ostensibly speak the same language, engineers studying trunk closure effort in the US could be understandably confused by “boot” data received from a British counterpart. The mutual exposure of domestic and international students at universities raises awareness of cultural communication differences and facilitates the exchange of ideas.

Business is no longer nationally cloistered. Products may be designed in one country, produced in another, and then sold in another. In order to be competitive, companies must understand not only the market to which they are targeting their products, but also the workforces of the markets in which their products will be produced. Efforts to improve understanding through media outlets alone are not necessarily effective. News reports and the internet often document negative or sensationalistic information that can foster cultural bias. Students at universities, both domestic and international, are more apt to glean an accurate understanding of differing

Foroudastan, S., & Hyde, S. (2010, June), The Value Of Exchange: The Benefits Of Inter Cultural Engineering Study– A Design Team Perspective Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16039

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