Beyond the Basics – Global Engineering Education

Former EDC students Kaitlin Litchfield (left) and Leigh Gilmore (right) work with community members
Former EDC students Kaitlin Litchfield (left) and Leigh Gilmore (right) work with community members

In a recent article featured on Devex, Amy Lieberman sat down with several leaders in engineering education to discuss how programs and content are shifting. Dr. Bernard Amadei, Co-Director of the Mortenson Center, was one of those interviewed and shared some thoughts on the matter, “The field of engineering is changing. It’s no longer focused on the local type of engineering — it’s more global talk, global engineering, and the key is, how do we create global engineers? You ask engineering students today why they are interested in the degree and they say they want a meaningful education and careers.”

The importance, and demand for, programs such as the Mortenson Center continues to grow. Increasingly, engineers are asked to do more than just apply their technical knowledge. There is a need to understand cultures and social dynamics, apply business strategies and work across disciplines. Understanding where to start can be difficult sometimes. Lieberman goes on to outline four pieces of advice for future engineers aspiring to make a global impact:

Advice for future global engineers:

1. Choose an area of focus. (Alternatively, consider how being an integrator could advance your work).

2. Work in your home country first to familiarize yourself with the basics of the work.

3. Consider soft skills just as important as technical skills: A strong sense of integrity will come into play when encountering situations involving corrupt actors, strong communication skills will be handy when delivering for clients of a different culture and a natural aptitude for entrepreneurship will allow you to get the work done despite unforeseen obstacles. Check this article for five soft skills every development professional should possess

4. Arm yourself with a foreign language. (But ask these questions first!)

Be sure to check out the full Devex article and feature on the Mortenson Center here.

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