IIE Networker - Spring 2011 - (Page 37)

EXPANDING STUDY ABROAD IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AS IT HAS been said that “variety is the spice of life,” it must be said that diversity of options and opportunities is the fundamental health food of global educational programs, providing both sustenance and well being. Options and opportunities must span both short- and long-term experiences, offering summer as well as semester and year-long stays, in highly developed and underdeveloped countries, and at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Cultural immersion may include language capability or be taught in English. Programs may be single or multidisciplinary, be STEM-focused or culturally focused or, ideally, both. The two articles that follow epitomize the breadth of options and opportunities in globalization of education, emphasizing the STEM fields. The article on the “ethnorelative engineer” highlights the importance of cultural immersion by bringing together students from two U.S. schools, one focusing on global education and community-based learning and the other specifically on engineering. Students from both schools experience the same intensive course in culture and society, a language-learning experience, and an independent study project, all with intensive engagement. It is to be contrasted to the second article about the highly technologically developed country of Japan, with this intensive cultural immersion-focused experience in significantly less technologically sophisticated Ecuador. The NanoJapan program, sponsored by NSF under PIRE and the subject of the second article, stresses “world class” by bringing together researchers in the two countries that, when started, accounted for 75 percent of the worldwide investment in nanotechnology research. It integrates U.S. undergraduates in science and engineering from multiple universities with both Japanese undergraduates and graduate students. It brings together a shorter cultural and language immersion, along with a specific longer research focus, within an opportunistic 12-week period spent in Japan. It also shows by example the value of this short-term program as a type of seeding for opening up future longer term experiences in other countries in different parts of the world. In combination, these articles dramatically demonstrate that options and opportunities are in fact the health food of globalizing education initiatives. —Dr. Lester A. Gerhardt, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Senior Advisor to the President on S&T at the Institute of International Education The Ethnorelative Engineer: Culturally Immersive Study Abroad Programs for Engineering Students By Michael Ballagh, Rhonda Chiles and Michael Donahue FINDING WAYS TO participate in study abroad programs is a distinct challenge for students in the science and engineering disciplines. Nonetheless, the proliferation of bilateral and multilateral collaborations between colleges and universities worldwide has enhanced the possibility for engineering students to meet their home institutions’ core graduation requirements through engineering courses completed abroad. This is a positive trend, but the vast majority of students who wish to complete engineering coursework abroad are required to enroll in programs in English-speaking countries or institutions of higher education where English is the language of instruction. The need to fulfill graduation requirements disallows students from participating in more immersive programs that emphasize language acquisition and intense community engagement. These kinds of programs encourage students to become, in the words of Milton Bennett, more ethnorelative learners, learners who begin to view the world through the eyes of this new community. In a successful collaboration between two sister institutions of the Claremont University Consortium, participating engineering students are now in a position to experience culturally immersive study abroad experiences while continuing their engineering studies. Pitzer College is widely recognized as a leader in global education and communitybased learning. Its study abroad programs in Botswana, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, and Nepal are informed by a strong commitment to cultural immersion and sustained engagement in local communities. To help students connect deeply with those host communities, the Pitzer program model integrates classroom instruction with active learning experiences in a variety of settings including home stays, volunteer internships, independent research projects and study trips. Harvey Mudd College (HMC) is a premier engineering, science and math college with one of the most rigorous, innovative curriculums in the nation. HMC’s distinctive educational experience combines engineering and science with the humanities and social sciences to create engineers and scientists with unusual breadth in their technical education and a firm understanding of the impact of their work on society. The unique curriculum emphasizes experiential learning, interdisciplinary approaches, and extensive undergraduate research. Students learn to Harvey Mudd engineering student, Ben Ryan, spent four hours a week at Refugio de los Sueños, a center in Quito, Ecuador, working to keep young kids off the street and in school. think across disciplines and become expert problem-solvers. The Problem The study of engineering is increasingly a global enterprise. While the number of engineering students who elect to study abroad has grown in recent years, it is still relatively low when compared with other academic disciplines.1 According to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2010 report, only 3.2 percent of U.S. study abroad students in 2008/09 studied engineering, compared to 20.7 percent who studied social 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2011

IIE Networker - Spring 2011
A Message from Allan E. Goodman
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
2011 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards: Innovation in International Education
100,000 Strong: Building Strategic Trust in U.S.-China Relations through Education
Experiencing Difference: The Meaning of Globalization at a Diverse Institution
Diversity in International Education: The Time Is Now
Diversity in Education Abroad: A Plan for Our Campuses
Best Practices for Diversifying Study Abroad on Your Campus
The Ethnorelative Engineer: Culturally Immersive Study Abroad Programs for Engineering Students
NanoJapan: Preparing Globally Savvy Researchers
Minority Faculty: The Key to Diversifying Study Abroad
Best Practices for When Diversity Is Commonplace
Advertisers’ Index
IIE Program Profile

IIE Networker - Spring 2011