459134 Global Engagement Strategies for Engineering Students at Western Michigan University

Thursday, November 17, 2016: 10:10 AM
Continental 3 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Said AbuBakr, Chemical and Paper Engineering, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI and James R. Springstead, Chemical Engineering, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Global Engagement Strategies for Engineering Students at Western Michigan University


James Springstead, PhD, Assistant Professor

Said AbuBakr, PhD, Professor, AIChE Fellow

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering

Kalamazoo, MI



Western Michigan University (WMU) has established global engagement as an important part of its vision and strategic objectives. To help implement these global strategic objectives, the faculty senate votes on a memorandum of action to encourage colleges to establish global learning outcomes. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) used already established ABET student outcomes that have global elements, with the WMU Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering serving as a leader in establishing clearly linked ABET performance indicators that are used to assess student outcomes.


The vision of Western Michigan University is:

Nationally and internationally recognized, the University aspires to distinguish itself as learner centered, discovery driven, and globally engaged.

Learner centered: Western Michigan University is a university where every member of our community is responsive to and responsible for the education of our students. We challenge and engage all members of our community with a university experience that creates skilled, life‐long learners.

 Discovery driven: Western Michigan University offers experiences that enable discovery, and promote creativity and research. We are committed to pursuing inquiry, disseminating knowledge, and fostering critical thinking that encourages life‐long learning. Our scholarship creates new knowledge, forms a basis for innovative solutions, leads to economic development, and makes substantial contributions to society.

Globally engaged: Western Michigan University impacts the globe positively. We are a community of learners committed to human dignity, sustainability, social responsibility, and justice. Our campus embraces a diverse population of students, faculty and staff who develop learners and leaders who are locally oriented and globally competent, culturally aware and ready to contribute to world knowledge (1).

To implement this vision, WMU developed the following global objectives:

Objective 1.4: International learning experiences prepare all learners for the globalized world.


a. Increase feasibility of broad‐based participation in study abroad programs and other globally focused learning opportunities.

b. Implement the faculty‐adopted internationalized education initiative.

c. Provide enhanced living‐learning support for the growing number of international students at WMU.

d. Increase recruitment of University employees with international experience and expertise.

e. Facilitate intercultural understanding through greater interaction between domestic and international students.

Objective 2.1: WMU’s academic programs respond to student and global needs through innovative, high quality curricula.


a. Increase flexibility within the curriculum development process to better respond to a rapidly changing world.

b. Revise general education curricula to respond to the needs of the 21st century student.

 c. Develop and utilize University‐wide student learning outcomes for University planning and assessment.

d. Develop stronger connections across colleges and among external constituents to facilitate interdisciplinary opportunities.

e. Identify and support growth in the number of programs that achieve national or international distinction.

Objective 3.3: WMU’s outreach is attentive to local and world needs.


a. Develop and implement a renewed Campus Compact Action Plan, dedicating the University to work with other institutions to advance the public purposes of higher education.

b. Review and improve outreach practices and policies to achieve the Carnegie Community Engagement Reclassification by 2020.

c. Operationalize a unified vision to support the University’s public engagement mission.

d. Develop rigorous, systematic evaluations of all outreach and community engagement programs to increase impact in conjunction with community agencies’ planning initiatives.

 e. Know, measure, tell, and increase WMU’s economic impact and social value.

f. Assist all students with developing meaningful connections in their local and global communities.

The international Education Council of Western Michigan University passed a resolution that was approved by the Faculty Senate asking colleges to create global Learning outcomes (GLOs)

The response of our college was that all our engineering, engineering technology, and computer science programs are ABET accredited. Global learning outcomes are already included in ABET student learning outcomes (3c), (3h), and (3j) and are periodically measured, assessed, and evaluated as required to maintain ABET accreditation (2).

Here are the ABET student outcomes that emphasize global engagements:

 (c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints

such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability

and sustainability.

The Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering measured metrics (performance indicators):

C3 Understand contemporary environmental and global issues influencing the chemical and biological industries


 (h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a

global, economic, environmental, and social context


The Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering measured metrics (performance indicators):

H1 Understand contemporary environmental and global issues influencing the chemical and

biological industries

H2 Understand safety and regulatory issues related to the hazards associated with processes and

the importance of ethical decisions related to these areas, real life examples

 (j) a knowledge of contemporary issues

The Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering measured metrics (performance indicators):


J1 Conduct independent learning (outside classroom)

J2 Conduct international literature search using electronic library and utilize resources such as

reference books, journal articles, and internet sources to analyze and design processes

By directly integrating performance indicators that assess global issues, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences directly assesses the success of our globally-focused strategic vision and objectives by integrating this focus into ABET performance indicators. It is necessary and appropriate to build assessment of global engagement and context into ABET performance indicators, especially when student outcomes involve environmental, ethical, economic, safety, and contemporary knowledge, as the world is increasingly integrated with more and more issues being relevant across all countries. Furthermore, global awareness and education of our students will prepare them for this new integrated world and open doors for opportunity for collaboration and involvement.

As demonstrated, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences has in place a well-established Knowledge, Skills, and Perspectives in the their Global Learning Outcomes as required for ABET accreditation and this MOA.

  1. The Gold Standard 2010, Western Michigan University Strategic Plan, www.wmiche.edu
  2. Students learning outcomes, abet.org

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