Global Engineering And The Social Context: A Cross-Disciplinary Course For Undergraduates

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Because of an increasingly complex global economy and challenges that span countries and cultures, it is imperative that today’s engineering graduates have the skills and attitudes necessary to communicate and develop engineering solutions that consider cultural and social differences. The forward-looking Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025 by ASCE (2006) states that “greater education and training of engineers in ethics and a greater emphasis on ethics in global engineering practice” is one of eight primary actions needed to achieve their vision “to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life.” To help accomplish this goal, a cross-discipline team at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has developed a course entitled “Global Engineering and the Social Context.” The team consists of faculty from four engineering disciplines, as well as humanities and social science faculty. The course, offered for the first time in the spring and summer of 2018, will consist of an on-campus component and an international travel component that will include design experiences with students in the host country. The course will be available to students of all levels, but will primarily be marketed to freshman and sophomores so that the skills learned can be transferred to technical courses throughout the curriculum. This paper will present background information demonstrating need for the course, course development activities, including a summary of input from alumni/industry stakeholders, and lessons learned from the first iteration of the course.

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