Achieving global competence: Are our freshmen already there?

Larry J. Shuman, Renee M. Clark, Scott Streiner, Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Engineering programs are being challenged to produce graduates who are globally prepared or have a global perspective. While an admirable goal, how best to not only accomplish but also measure this? As part of a much larger study of the effectiveness of various forms of international experiences, we have used a comprehensive instrument to survey our incoming freshman engineering students relative to demographics, international experiences, and global perspectives. To do this we have incorporated the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), a nationally normed instrument that measures students' global learning and development into a survey of their international experiences and demographics prior to entering the University of Pittsburgh. Specifically, the GPI's three components measure how a student thinks (i.e., Cognitive domain); how a student views him/herself as an individual with a cultural heritage (i.e., Intrapersonal domain); and how a student relates to people from other cultures, backgrounds, and values (i.e., Interpersonal domain). We have used this instrument to better understand the level of global preparedness of our incoming freshmen, and particularly, how it is influenced by demographic factors and experiences prior to entering college. In this paper we present our findings, comparing freshmen with graduating seniors relative to global preparedness and experience. We provide recommendation for engineering faculty, including how to better identify those students who may enter with relatively low levels of global "preparedness," as well as those who are at the higher end. Findings to date suggest that a large number of students enter the university with a relatively high level of global preparedness. While students from suburban areas tended to have the highest GPI levels, this was also true for students from rural areas and small towns if one or more parents had an advanced degree. We also found a somewhat more disproportionately high number of female students were among those with the highest social interaction dimension of the GPI. Most important, when we compared the GPI scores of freshmen to those of graduating seniors, we found that the students' international experiences prior to entering college appears to be a major factor in their achieving a global perspective by graduation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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