International Engineering Program

Lead Institution: University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

Collaborating Institutions: Technical University of Braunschweig, academic institutions in Germany, France, China, Spain and Mexico; industry

Category: Global/Curricular

Date Implemented: September 1987

Website: http://www.uri.edu/iep/; Online Journal for Global Engineering Education http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/ojgee/

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Program Description: The University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program (IEP) leads simultaneously to a Bachelor of Science in engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in German, French, Spanish, or Chinese. Students study the language and related culture(s) each semester along with their engineering curriculum, and spend the entire fourth year abroad completing one semester of study and research experience at a partner university and a six-month professional internship with a company where the target language is the primary source of communication. The goal is to graduate engineering students with a high level of competency in a second language as well as significant practical engineering experience in a different cultural setting. The IEP has also impacted graduate engineering education with the introduction of dual degree master’s and doctoral programs in partnership with the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany. The IEP is a totally integrated experience, beginning on day one of the first year, and maintains high standards from both the engineering and language points of view, requiring students to function as engineers in a cross-national setting. The University sends more engineering students abroad for a full-year experience and graduates more engineers with newly acquired languages than any other school in the country. An additional outcome of the IEP which had not been foreseen originally is its appeal to women, minorities, and bright high school graduates who are initially reluctant to study engineering. The faculty involved have been very conscious of the experimental nature and the challenges in bringing together two disparate disciplines for a common goal. Language faculty are heavily involved in offering specialized courses for the IEP students and in preparing them for experiences abroad as exchange students and interns. Several partner companies provide pre-internships for students at U.S. facilities, followed by six-month internships at their facilities abroad. Many students find employment with our corporate partners and our placement rate for graduates is very close to 100%. For the last 15 years IEP has sponsored the annual Colloquium on International Engineering Education, attracting people from around the world.

Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: Outcomes include: (1) strong technical education measured through classroom assessment and evaluation of research work at university and internship; (2) second (or third) language competency measured by national foreign language proficiency standards; (3) cross-cultural communication skills evidenced through long-term program evaluation; (4) exposure to engineering as practiced in other cultural environments; (5) foundations of a global professional network through experiences abroad; (6) newfound mobility and love of travel as a necessary skill for the global workplace; (7) success in applications for the best graduate schools and other unique opportunities. An investigation of the long-term impact as seen by students now in the workplace showed the extent to which the overall program positively affects both personal and professional development. Graduates tell us that their time spent abroad, in addition to the outcomes above, dramatically increased their problem-solving, confidence, self-reliance, communication, leadership, and courage to take calculated risks. It furthermore enabled them to elevate personal goals and reach for standards and achievements which had seemed unattainable.

Assessment Information: Assessment is ongoing and multifaceted, including traditional classroom work assessment; assessment of internships and study abroad via evaluation of student journals, written reports, student debriefing, collection of feedback from faculty and internship mentors abroad, and longitudinal case studies of graduates; language assessment through classroom work, demonstration of success on the job, and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency examinations. Evaluation also includes data collection regarding program recruitment and growth, student retention, success in the job market, and corporate interest in the program. Assessment of the program has also come in the form of recognition by external awards. The IEP has graduated over 350 students, many of whom have put their global skills to work. Twenty five percent of all engineering undergrads are currently enrolled; approximately 35 students go abroad each year.

Funding/Sustainability: The program was funded initially for three years with a FIPSE grant ($155,000), which supported release time for development, the creation of special German language sections for engineering students, and travel to develop internship opportunities with companies in Germany. Funding has come from the U.S. Department of Education, NSF, the National Security Education Program, German and Chinese governments, corporations, and private foundations and donors. Total funding support to date is over $10,000,000. The full-time directorship and coordinator are funded by the university as are salaries of key faculty in the program. There are IEP line items in the budgets of both the College of Engineering and Arts & Sciences that cover all personnel. The operating costs of the Living and Learning Community are part of the student room and board costs. Yearly donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals that have been consistent over the last 15 years continue to provide operating expenses and steady increases to the IEP endowment. The yield from this endowment supports student scholarships and travel. Most IEP students are supported at least partially by honors scholarships.



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International Engineering Program Lead Institution: University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI Collaborating Institutions: Technical University of Braunschweig, academic institutions in Germany, France, China, Spain and Mexico; industry Category: Global/Curricular Date Implemented: September 1987 Website: http://www.uri.edu/iep/; Online Journal for Global Engineering Education http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/ojgee/ Program Description: The University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program (IEP) leads simultaneously to a Bachelor of Science in engineering and a Bachelor of Arts schools and other unique opportunities. An investigation of the in German, French, Spanish, or Chinese. Students study the long-term impact as seen by students now in the workplace language and related culture(s) each semester along with their showed the extent to which the overall program positively engineering curriculum, and spend the entire fourth year abroad affects both personal and professional development. Graduates completing one semester of study and research experience at a tell us that their time spent abroad, in addition to the outcomes partner university and a six-month professional above, dramatically increased their problem- internship with a company where the target solving, confidence, self-reliance, communication, language is the primary source of communication. leadership, and courage to take calculated risks. It The goal is to graduate engineering students with a furthermore enabled them to elevate personal goals high level of competency in a second language as and reach for standards and achievements which well as significant practical engineering experience had seemed unattainable. in a different cultural setting. The IEP has also Assessment Information: Assessment is ongoing impacted graduate engineering education with the and multifaceted, including traditional classroom introduction of dual degree master’s and doctoral work assessment; assessment of internships and programs in partnership with the Technical University of study abroad via evaluation of student journals, written reports, Braunschweig in Germany. The IEP is a totally integrated student debriefing, collection of feedback from faculty and experience, beginning on day one of the first year, and main- internship mentors abroad, and longitudinal case studies of tains high standards from both the engineering and language graduates; language assessment through classroom work, points of view, requiring students to function as engineers in a demonstration of success on the job, and American Council on cross-national setting. The University sends more engineering the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency examinations. students abroad for a full-year experience and graduates more Evaluation also includes data collection regarding program engineers with newly acquired languages than any other school recruitment and growth, student retention, success in the job in the country. An additional outcome of the IEP which had not market, and corporate interest in the program. Assessment of been foreseen originally is its appeal to women, minorities, and the program has also come in the form of recognition by bright high school graduates who are initially reluctant to study external awards. The IEP has graduated over 350 students, engineering. The faculty involved have been very conscious of many of whom have put their global skills to work. Twenty five the experimental nature and the challenges in bringing together percent of all engineering undergrads are currently enrolled; two disparate disciplines for a common goal. Language faculty approximately 35 students go abroad each year. are heavily involved in offering specialized courses for the IEP Funding/Sustainability: The program was funded initially for students and in preparing them for experiences abroad as three years with a FIPSE grant ($155,000), which supported exchange students and interns. Several partner companies release time for development, the creation of special German provide pre-internships for students at U.S. facilities, followed language sections for engineering students, and travel to by six-month internships at their facilities abroad. Many develop internship opportunities with companies in Germany. students find employment with our corporate partners and our Funding has come from the U.S. Department of Education, placement rate for graduates is very close to 100%. For the last NSF, the National Security Education Program, German and 15 years IEP has sponsored the annual Colloquium on Interna- Chinese governments, corporations, and private foundations tional Engineering Education, attracting people from around the and donors. Total funding support to date is over $10,000,000. world. The full-time directorship and coordinator are funded by the Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: Outcomes include: (1) university as are salaries of key faculty in the program. There strong technical education measured through classroom are IEP line items in the budgets of both the College of Engi- assessment and evaluation of research work at university and neering and Arts & Sciences that cover all personnel. The internship; (2) second (or third) language competency measured operating costs of the Living and Learning Community are part by national foreign language proficiency standards; (3) cross- of the student room and board costs. Yearly donations from cultural communication skills evidenced through long-term foundations, corporations, and individuals that have been program evaluation; (4) exposure to engineering as practiced in consistent over the last 15 years continue to provide operating other cultural environments; (5) foundations of a global expenses and steady increases to the IEP endowment. The yield professional network through experiences abroad; (6) newfound from this endowment supports student scholarships and travel. mobility and love of travel as a necessary skill for the global Most IEP students are supported at least partially by honors workplace; (7) success in applications for the best graduate scholarships. 34