The term global competence has become a buzzword in recent discussions and publications on the education of today’s engineering student. This paper addresses two questions related to the role of language education for engineers, namely, What role does second language (L2) proficiency play in the education of the global engineer? and, How can engineering programs include language study within the crowded confines of existing curricula? Additionally, this paper presents findings from a short-term study abroad program administered in conjunction by the College of Engineering and the Italian Studies Program at a liberal arts university held in May 2015. Former offerings of this course at the same university focused on presenting engineering in a global and societal context without any attempt to provide language instruction. The main innovation in our program was to include basic Italian language instruction. The motivation for this change was the realization that knowledge of language provides a deeper understanding of the cultural framework that impacts the development of engineering projects and products in a foreign country. This exploratory study presents a model which can be adapted and applied to other engineering programs whose goal it is to begin incorporating L2 instruction into an existing curriculum.
Ferrante Perrone, Lisa A.
"Foreign Language and the Globally Competent Engineer: More Than Just a “Soft Skill”,"
Online Journal for Global Engineering Education:
1, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/ojgee/vol9/iss1/2