INNOVATE: Preparing Technical Graduates for the Global Workplace

By:
Dr. Cheryl Matherly,
Mr. J. Patrick Frantz,
Ms. Stacey Turner,
Debbie Gulick
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Engineering is only in part a matter of designing more sophisticated technology. Issues such as the digital divide between developed and developing countries, information privacy, and intellectual property are a few examples of how engineering practiced in an international context also raises concerns about its social impact. If technology is a key driver for globalization, universities have a particular obligation to prepare technical graduates to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global context.

This paper considers the experiences of students participating in the INNOVATE conference, a symposium that takes place in Asia and involves 54 students from the US, Japan, Singapore, China, and Europe in the study of globalization and technology. Student delegates spend ten days in two different countries, participating in professional visits to different companies and meetings with key business and government leaders. The symposium considers four themes:
• Relationship between Academia, Government, and Industry (e.g. government role in encouraging development of new industries);
• Technical Innovation (e.g. entrepreneurship, development of new technology considered within a cultural context);
• Ethical Obligations of Technology Use and Leadership (e.g. privacy of personal data; digital divide);
• Effective Global Leadership(e.g., problem solving in non-Western countries).

This paper will present research on how participation in this international, interdisciplinary conference affects students’ attitudes towards technology. In particular, we will present the results of a study that indicate how INNOVATE increased student participants’ understanding of the societal implications of technology (particularly in terms of social welfare); affected the participants' attitudes toward the responsible use and development of technology; and motivated the student participants to engage in behaviors related to leadership in technical fields. The researchers conclude with curricular recommendations for providing technical students the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.


Keywords: Globalization and Technology, Engineering Education, Ethics and Technology, Leadership, Technology and Society
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Cheryl Matherly

Assistant Dean of Students for Career and International Education, Office of International Programs, Rice University
USA

Dr. Cheryl Matherly is Assistant Dean of Students for Career and International Education at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Her special interest is the impact of globalization on the workplace. Dr. Matherly currently directs the Rice International Internship Program, through which students are placed in internships with employers in Europe and Asia, and co-directs the INNOVATE conference, which involves students from seven countries in the study of globalization and technology in Asia. Dr. Matherly has written numerous articles for national publications on international work opportunities and workplace globalization, and most recently co-authored the book How to Get a Job in Europe. She serves on several boards for international exchange organizations. She is the recipient of two Fulbright grants for international education administrators (Germany and Japan.)

Mr. J. Patrick Frantz

Executive Director, Center for Wireless Communications, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University
USA

Patrick Frantz is currently the Executive & Technical Director for Rice University's Center for Wireless Communication, an institution devoted to next-generation wireless communications research. He received an M.E.E. degree from Rice University in 1997, returning to Rice in 2000 after spending some time working in the computer and biotechnology industries. He teaches several classes in high-speed hardware and embedded systems design, and has been involved with several wireless prototyping projects for experimental research, including one project that was a worldwide finalist in the 2000 Texas Instruments DSP and Analog Challenge. Mr. Frantz is also involved in developing international study programs for engineering students.

Ms. Stacey Turner

Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Rice University
USA

Stacey Turner is a third year PhD student in the department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Rice University. She conducts research relating to how people form attitudes toward new technology, and how they make trust decisions to use products manufactured with new technology. The projects focus specifically on nanotechnology, and how perceptions of risks, subjective norms, and individual differences lead to trust of nanotechnology products. Her dissertation focuses on leadership in a cross-cultural context.

Debbie Gulick

International Practicum Coordinator, Georgia Institute of Technology
USA

Debbie Gulick is the International Practicum Coordinator at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her responsibilities include developing and sustaining a large, broad-based program of international internships and cooperative education opportunities for students. Debbie has worked in the
field of international education with a specialization in international technical internships for the past four years.

Ref: T06P0082