Date Approved

6-25-2020

Embargo Period

6-26-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. Engineering

Department

Experiential Engineering Education

College

Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

First Advisor

Streiner, Scott

Second Advisor

Bodnar, Cheryl

Third Advisor

Jesiek, Brent

Subject(s)

International education; Engineering students--Education

Disciplines

Engineering Education

Abstract

Globalization is causing higher education to adapt their approaches to student learning, especially those in the engineering disciplines as the nature and impact of their work becomes more cross-cultural and diverse. The efforts of programmatic change have led universities to emphasize new or different student experiences and educational practices to better prepare graduates for this societal change. Given this trend, research on which educational practices have the most impact on preparing engineering graduates to enter a global workforce is needed. Research has shown that international experiences like study abroad have a positive impact on students' global perspectives, especially when they engage in international programs and opportunities throughout college. Unfortunately, engineering students have been underrepresented among study abroad participants (less than 10%) historically, due to a variety of reasons (e.g., lack of preparation, structured curricula, lack of integration). Thus, this thesis examines how global perspectives can develop throughout college separate from study abroad experiences and investigates which educational opportunities (i.e., courses, co-curricular experiences) have the largest impact on the development of these global perspectives, as well as their interest in pursuing international experiences in general.

Data was collected from 480 first year and 55 graduating engineering students at Rowan University between the Fall 2018 and Spring 2020 semesters using a nationally normed instrument called the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), that measures global learning and development. In addition to the GPI, this study surveyed graduating students on their participation in High-Impact Educational Practices (HIEP) (i.e. first-year seminars, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing intensive courses, collaborative projects, undergraduate research, global learning, service- or community-based learning, internships, and capstone projects) and its relationship with global perspective development. This research identifies courses, co-curricular activities, and HIEPs that help broaden global perspectives of engineering students (before or during college), as well as provide an understanding of which aspects of global perspectives they influence most. According to these analyses, students experienced broadening of global perspectives from participation in multi-cultural courses, discussions of current events with peers, and the following of an international crisis. This study explored and discusses the main reasons engineering students do not want to participate in an international experience and provides some guidelines as to how engineering educators can promote global perspective development for the critical mass of engineering students (who don't or can't participate in traditional programs).

The results of this thesis inform engineering educators and leadership on how global learning can be promoted in and around the classroom, with the intent of preparing the majority of engineering students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to compete globally. This thesis also provides insights into how educational practices are developing (or not developing) engineering students in this context, and whether a traditional international experience should be required as part of engineering student's degree plan (and the efficacy of stay at home alternatives to such a requirement).

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