Preparing the Engineer of the Future, Part II: Projects around the Globe

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This describes a scalable, sustainable model for providing engineering and science students with impactful global experiences. Through the WPI Global Perspective Program, over 500 students per year …

This describes a scalable, sustainable model for providing engineering and science students with impactful global experiences. Through the WPI Global Perspective Program, over 500 students per year complete academic projects in 25 locations around the globe.

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  • 1. Rick Vaz Dean, Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Worcester Polytechnic Institute [email_address] Preparing the Engineer of the Future, Part II: Project Work around the Globe
  • 2. Calls for a Global Perspective in Engineering
    • Programs must demonstrate that students “communicate effectively”, “function on multidisciplinary teams,” understand “professional and ethical responsibility” and “have the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context”
    • — Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, 2005
    “ We aspire to a future where engineers are prepared to adapt to changes in global forces and trends and to ethically assist the world in creating a balance in the standard of living for developing and developed countries alike” — National Academy of Engineering, “ The Engineer of 2020” (2004)
  • 3. The Globalization Challenge for Technological Education
    • Impact of programs depends on duration, depth, nature of experience
    • Some international programs serve few students and have not proven scalable
    • Some programs depend on individual champions or one-time funding and may not be sustainable
    • Challenge: I mpactful international programs for engineering and science students that are scalable and sustainable
  • 4. The WPI Global Perspective Program
    • 65% of WPI undergraduates complete at least one project fulltime at an off-campus Project Center
    • About 50% do at least one project overseas
    • Project Centers generally run for a single term with 24 students and 2 resident faculty advisors
    • Projects are sponsored by local organizations: public, private, non-profit, NGOs, and universities
  • 5. WPI Global Project Centers, 2008
    • Society/Technology Projects
    • Melbourne, Australia
    • San Jose, Costa Rica
    • Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Venice, Italy
    • Windhoek, Namibia
    • Hong Kong, PRC
    • Cape Town, South Africa
    • Bangkok, Thailand
    • London, UK
    • San Juan, PR
    • Washington, DC
    • Boston, MA
    • Nantucket, MA
    • Worcester, MA
    • Senior Design/Research
    • Nancy, France
    • Limerick, Ireland
    • Wuhan, PRC
    • Shanghai, PRC
    • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • London, UK
    • Budapest, Hungary
    • Silicon Valley, CA
    • MIT Lincoln Laboratories, MA
    • Wall Street, NY
    • Humanities and Arts Projects
    • Ifrane, Morocco
    • London, UK
  • 6. Global Program Participation – Over 7000 Students since 1974 Class of 2007 – 70% of graduates had an off-campus experience – 52% of graduates had an international experience
  • 7. Accountability and Assessment
    • Follow up with sponsors
      • Were the results useful?
      • Will they do it again?
    • Evaluation by faculty advisors
      • Results, deliverables
      • Process, teamwork, professionalism
      • Written report, oral presentation
    • Program reviews by trained and calibrated faculty
      • Outcomes rated according to rubrics
      • Results useful for program improvement and accreditation
  • 8. Impact on Educational Outcomes
  • 9. Impact on the Curriculum
    • Development of new courses
      • project preparation and site culture
      • area studies, applied language courses
      • first year Great Problems Seminars
    • New majors and minors
      • International Studies
      • Environmental Studies
    • Integration of general education with technology and science
      • critical thinking, communication, teamwork, problem solving
  • 10. Impact on the Campus
    • Faculty culture
      • involvement across campus
      • pride in program quality
    • Student culture
      • global preparedness, awareness
      • “make a difference” ethos
      • find passion, broaden horizon
    • Institutional culture
      • “signature program”
      • student recruitment advantage
      • focus for development
    • External relations
      • national media attention
      • global partnerships
  • 11. Costs
    • Students pay their own travel and living costs
    • Faculty advisors are the greatest resource implication of the program – all departments participate
    • Sponsors at some sites pay a project fee to subsidize program costs (typically senior technical projects)
    • Division raises 20% of its operating budget
    • Overall cost/credit to the university is comparable to an on-campus course
  • 12. Could Global Projects Be Widely Adopted?
    • Can meet both general education and major-specific goals
    • Many benefits
      • Powerful experiential model
      • Preparation for “flat world”
      • Focus on transferable skills
      • Aligned with student interests
      • Aligned with ABET, NAE visions
    • Potential barriers
      • Cost to students
      • Cost to institution
      • Rigid curricula
      • Need for faculty involvement
  • 13. For More Information http://www.wpi.edu [email_address]