Assessing the spectrum of international undergraduate engineering educational experiences: A cross institutional survey

Larry J. Shuman, Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre, Scott Streiner, Gisele Ragusa, Cheryl Matherly, Lisa Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


International experiences are viewed as important components of undergraduate engineering education. Yet little has been done to define global preparedness, specify alternatives for achieving it, or determine to what degree being globally prepared is the result of personal attributes, prior experiences (including pre-college), or specific educational experiences. A collaboration of investigators from four universities are investigating how the broad spectrum of international experiences both in and outside of formal curricula impact engineering students' global preparedness. Now in its fifth year of research, we have conducted three primary studies to learn more about global preparedness. The first was an extensive Delphi survey with subject matter experts. The second consisted of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of students at our four partner institutions. The third is a much larger survey of engineering students at 13 representative engineering programs across the U.S. This paper focuses on the results of the third study. At each campus we have obtained stratified random samples of freshmen and seniors; in the case of seniors we have subdivided the sample into two cohorts - those who had an international experience while an undergraduate student and those who had not participated in an international activity. All students completed a carefully tested instrument that captured their demographics, experiences and a measure of their global preparedness. To determine the latter, we utilized the nationally normed Global Perspective Inventory developed by Braskamp and colleagues. This has enabled us to identify changes in global awareness, knowledge and thinking over the course of the students' transition from incoming freshman to graduating senior. We report what we have learned from this extensive sample of over 2, 500 students. The results of this third study and the two earlier linked studies have resulted in guidelines for engineering administrators and faculty interested in preparing students for the global economy. Similar to our earlier papers, we provide an overview of the updated results of this NSF funded research initiative that has investigated how the various internationally focused learning experiences within engineering (both curricular and cocurricular) impact students' global preparedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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