International Engineering Education – Lessons Learned
Our friend and colleague, Dr. John Grandin of the University of Rhode Island, has recently been honored with a volume of the Online Journal for Global Engineering Education (OJGEE). John built URI’s International Engineering Program from scratch 25 years ago and has grown it into one of the most successful programs of its kind in the entire world. When we started the LCP program here at ISU, we followed John and URI’s lead in pairing engineering knowledge with language and cultural competence.
We especially like some of the lessons John offers in his article about the effects of training global engineers and their time working and living abroad. Summing up a case study of a German student, he writes that:
language learning needs to have direct applications if we wish to catch the attention of larger numbers of American students. It needs to be tied to other disciplines across the curriculum, engineering being one good example, and to future career opportunities. In short, it needs to intersect with students’ lives. Though the basics can and must be supplied by the classroom at home, the learning process also needs to be reinforced through immersion experiences in the culture abroad.