Keywords: Global Competency; Assessment; Study abroad
Multiple reports suggest that the engineering work of the future will be conducted by globally diverse teams for globally diverse customers in which engineers will be required to communicate across political and cultural boundaries. To prepare students to enter such a workforce, engineering programs should seek to educate “global engineers” and integrate global competence across curricula. Indeed, ABET demands this emphasis, as criterion h calls for students to experience “the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.” Programs have addressed this goal in a variety of different ways by offering, for example, study abroad opportunities, classes with a global focus, co-curricular student organizations, and general education requirements. It is challenging to demonstrate, however, the impact of these kinds of interventions on the development of students’ global and contextual competencies.
This paper describes a suite of assessments that we use to uncover how students develop such competencies in a program geared toward first-year engineers. The program integrates a global engineering course meeting general education requirements with multiple tracks of short-term international experiences. Our paper provides an overview of the assessments that we use throughout the program as well as example summary results from each assessment (n=92 students for Spring 2016 data) to demonstrate the unique information gained from analyzing each measure or activity. We organize assessments into three categories based on the amount of time they require to complete and analyze so that other faculty or program leaders can gain a sense of what might work best for their settings: 1) Quick Hitters (Cultural Intelligence Survey, Sojourn Readiness Assessment, Interdisciplinary Skills Scale, Contextual Awareness Scale; Systems Thinking Scale; Critical Dispositions Scale), 2) More In-Depth (Global Competency Scenario, Systems Thinking for Engaging Problem Solvers), and 3) Longer Projects (Global Challenges posters, Working with a Global Team, International Journal, Preparing for an Interview). We hope these examples used to demonstrate course, program, or other interventions’ impacts may serve as a model for other institutions seeking to assess students’ global and contextual competencies.
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