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Developing ‘The Global Engineer’ Topic of Grand Challenges’ Presentation, Faculty Workshop

March 13, 2014

K-12 Workshop 2

Demonstrating Project: Rose-Hulman students showcase one of the projects Wabash Valley elementary and middle school science teachers could use to show students how to improve living conditions in developing countries.

Developing scientists, engineers, and mathematicians with the skills to change the world will be the focus of a presentation and faculty workshop at Rose-Hulman on Friday and Saturday, March 14-15.

Annette Berndt, senior instructor at the University of British Columbia, has joined faculty colleagues in teaching “The Global Engineer” course. It strives to enrich student’s global, social, and cultural understanding, while also enhancing their critical thinking, communications, and problem-solving skills. She is also a co-author on the forthcoming book “Engineering with Integrity: Grappling with Real-World Problems.”

Berndt’s visit is sponsored by a $20,000 grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation's Venture Fund, which supports Rose-Hulman’s Grand Challenges global educational initiative.

Friday’s talk (4:20-5:10 in Myers Hall) will highlight the importance of recognizing sociotechnical contexts in the problem-solution design cycle. It will also show how students can tackle challenges that develop as they propose solutions to open-ended real-world problems identified in rural areas of the world.

In her seminar course, Berndt invites students solve complex problems identified by artisans in India. Throughout the process, students encounter the kind of communication challenges they may face in a global workplace.

The faculty workshop on Saturday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) will serve as a forum for the exchange of experiences and ideas. It will provide Rose-Hulman professors and administrators with an opportunity to explore curriculum development issues of problem definition, contextual competence, communication strategies, and critical reflection opportunities in creating a course with global engineering elements.

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering Report highlighted 14 challenges for future technical professionals. These challenges cover such areas as “Reverse Engineering the Brain,” “Providing Access to Clean Water,” “Improving Urban Infrastructure,” and “Making Solar Energy Efficient.”

Rose-Hulman’s Grand Challenges Group hopes to create graduates that are more culturally aware and globally responsible citizens. A small group of faculty and staff began discussions in the summer of 2011 on ways of incorporating the Grand Challenges areas into the institute’s curriculum and campus activities.

The Grand Challenges Group is working to show elementary school students in the Wabash Valley how they can be part of the Grand Challenges solutions. Rose-Hulman students are planning and organizing outreach activities to teach technical content and interest K-12 students in local schools.

“We believe the Grand Challenges offer Rose-Hulman a unique opportunity to influence the future of technical education,” says Grand Challenges Group Leader Sean Moseley, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “Rose-Hulman has an important role to play in encouraging students to confront the Grand Challenges and to offer their expertise to solve them.”

Other faculty members on Rose-Hulman’s Grand Challenges Group are Eva Andrijcic, Ashley Bernal, Stephen Chenoweth, Elton Graves, Lindsay Hull, Scott Kirkpatrick, William Kline, Jessica Livingston, Christopher Miller, Sriram Mohan, Terry Schumacher, Susan Smith, Anneliese Watt, William Weiner, and Julia Williams.