379257 A Language Learner Focus in Internationalizing Demand for Chemical Engineering Education
Chemical engineering education is rapidly becoming internationalized. An important barrier for internationalization is the ability of involved faculty and students to speak global languages such as English at a level of fluency ensuring their efficient integration into the globalized community. English as the world language is the connecting link eliminating borders and distances between continents as well as contributing to the collective intellectual potential of mankind. Integration of non-native English speakers into this global intellectual network faces certain challenges, such as significant efforts needed to form an English-speaking community in countries with no or poor historical linguistic English background. A not so evident challenge, however, is that even English skills proper for day-to-day communication and general understanding needed to form basic contacts and collaborations are insufficient for the real integration of such people into the global league of professionals in industry, education and science. The reason is that excellence needs excellence, while being good but not enough means that you are not competitive.
Attracting promising students to chemical engineering education system and their transforming into chemical engineering professionals for the US and world chemical industry requires a continuous influx of talented students. Successful enrollment of talents by top world universities specialized in chemical engineering is an excellent proof of successful internationalization of chemical industry and education. These universities are, however, facing a rapidly growing challenge of dropping demand for chemical engineering programs both by domestic and international students. Chemical engineering education and engineering education in general are becoming less popular.
The global demand for engineering education can be increased by student enrollment from traditionally not English-speaking countries, such as Asia-Pacific and Russia-CIS countries with large human resources. Another opportunity is to involve best engineers and engineering faculty from these countries into the global engineering education process and well as increase the competitiveness their domestic graduates by inviting best international engineering educators to enrich their academic process. Internationalization is closely linked to the language learning problem for such world regions and, of course, for their internationalization partners in native English-speaking countries.
A new approach is offered to involve more students into the U.S.-offered chemical engineering programs – a language learner focused approach with a lifelong language learning environment meaning that English learning in the universities from above-mentioned countries should be treated as a truly life-long process with the focus on chemical engineering linguistic aspects. Starting at the secondary school level, engineering English learning continues at a university to offer Bachelors able to pursue Master’s degree in a U.S. university or a secondary school graduate with TOEFL scores allowing entering a chemical engineering program. Another component of this Environment is that faculty in involved in language learning together with students. An indispensible prerequisite for a successful lifelong language learning environment is involvement of universities implementing programs in English into its development and functioning at their partnering higher education centers abroad.