The globally competent engineer: Working effectively with people who define problems differently

Gary Lee Downey, Juan C. Lucena, Barbara M. Moskal, Rosamond Parkhurst, Thomas Bigley, Chris Hays, Brent K. Jesiek, Liam Kelly, Jonson Miller, Sharon Ruff, Jane L. Lehr, Amy Nichols-Belo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations


This paper offers and tests an approach to conceptualizing the global competency of engineers. It begins by showing that the often-stated goal of working effectively with different cultures is fundamentally about learning to work effectively with people who define problems differently. The paper offers a minimum learning criterion for global competency and three learning outcomes whose achievement can help engineering students fulfill that criterion. It uses the criterion to establish a typology of established methods to support global learning for engineering students. It introduces the course, Engineering Cultures, as an example of an integrated classroom experience designed to enable larger numbers of engineering students to take the critical first step toward global competency, and it offers a test application of the learning criterion and outcomes by using them to organize summative assessments of student learning in the course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Assessment
  • Culture
  • Global competency


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