2019 FYEE Conference

Understanding Global Perspective Development in First-Year Engineering Students: Determining Educational Impact

Presented at T1A: Readiness 1

Developing and assessing global perspectives is becoming increasingly important due to the need for engineering graduates to enter a global workforce beyond 2020.1,2 Engineering educators and higher education leadership believe those students who are able to work effectively with colleagues across national, cultural, and ethnic boundaries will be more prepared and successful post-graduation. Research has shown that international experiences like study abroad have a positive impact on students’ global perspectives, especially when they engage in international programs and opportunities throughout college.3,4 Unfortunately, engineering students have been underrepresented among study abroad participants (less than10%) historically, due to a variety of reasons (e.g., lack of preparation, structured curricula, lack of integration).5–7 To promote global perspective development for the critical mass of engineering students who don’t (or can’t) participate in traditional international programs, determination of educational practices that promote global competency development is needed.

As part of a larger study on how global perspectives of engineering students can be developed through curricular and co-curricular educational opportunities throughout college, we administered the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) to better understand the global perspectives of our incoming first-year students, and particularly, how it is influenced by prior educational opportunities and social experiences. The GPI is a nationally normed instrument that measures students’ global learning and development through three major domains of human development – Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal. The Cognitive domain measure how a student thinks, the Intrapersonal domain measures how a student view themselves as an individual with a cultural heritage, and the Interpersonal domain measures how a student relates to people from other cultures, backgrounds, and values. The following research questions are addressed:

1. How do global perspective levels of first-year engineering students relate to prior educational opportunities?
2. How do global perspective of first-year engineering students relate to desired college educational opportunities?

In this full paper, we present our findings and provide initial recommendations for engineering faculty on how to better identify incoming first-year students with lower levels of global perspectives, as well as how global learning can be promoted in and around the first-year engineering classroom.

1. Rajala, S. A. Beyond 2020: Preparing Engineers for the Future. Proceedings of the IEEE, 100, 1376–1383 (2012).
2. National Academy of Engineering, U.S., Educating the Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century, Washington, DC: National Academies Press (2004). Available at http://www.nae.edu/Programs/Education/Activities10374/Engineers of2020.aspx.
3. Salisbury, M. H., An, B. P. & Pascarella, E. T. The Effect of Study Abroad on Intercultural Competence Among Undergraduate College Students. J. Stud. Aff. Res. Pract. 50(1), 1–20 (2013).
4. Shuman, L. J., Clark, R. M., Streiner, S. & Besterfield-Sacre, M. Achieving Global Competence : Are Our Freshmen Already There ? ASEE Annu. Conf. Expo. (2016).
5. Grandin, J. M. & Hirleman, D. E. Educating Engineers as Global Citizens : A Call for Action / A Report of the National Summit Meeting on the Globalization of Engineering Education. Online J. Glob. Eng. Educ. 4(1), (2009). Available at http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/ojgee/vol4/iss1/1
6. Parkinson, A. Engineering Study Abroad Programs : Formats , Challenges , Best Practices. Online J. Glob. Eng. Educ. 2(2), (2007).
7. Jesiek, B. K., Haller, Y. & Thompson, J. Developing Globally Competent Engineering Researchers : Outcomes-Based Instructional and Assessment Strategies from the IREE 2010 China Research Abroad Program. Adv. Eng. Educ. 4 (1), 1–31 (2014).

  1. Brian Robert Moore Rowan University [biography]
  2. Dr. Scott Streiner Rowan University [biography]
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